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Us 69, Afghanistan 59, U.s. 35, Oregon 21, Washington 20, Clinton 20, America 19, United States 11, Romesha 9, Clinton Romesha 8, New York 8, Conrad 7, United 6, Navy 6, Keating 6, Clint Romesha 6, New Republic 5, Sgt Joshua 4, Obama 4, Sgt Vernon Martin 4,
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  CSPAN    Politics Public Policy Today    News/Business.  

    February 11, 2013
    8:00 - 12:59am EST  

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discuss his paper. >> in a few moments, president obama offers a reward for action in afghanistan. in an hour, a look>> after thatf journalism at digital media with the publisher and editor in chief of the new republic. and later, a bipartisan group on federal spending and debt reduction. >> having observed a steady improvement in the opportunity and well-being of our citizens, i can report to you that the state of this old and youthful union is good. >> in keeping with time-honored tradition, i have come to report to you on the state of the union. i am pleased to report that america is much improved.
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and there is good reason to believe it will continue. >> my duty tonight is to report on the state of the union. the not of the state of the government but of our american community. therefore, set forth responsibilities to form a more perfect union. the state of the union is strong. >> as we gather tonight, our nation is at war. our economy is in recession, and the civilized world faces unprecedented danger is. yet the state of our union has never been stronger. >> it is because of our people that our future is helpful -- hopeful. and the state of our union is strong. >> president obama delivers this year's address with the preview program at 8:00 a.m. eastern.
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tuesday night on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.org. >> president obama awarded the medal of honor to clinton romesha. this is half an hour. ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states and mrs. michelle obama, accompanied by medal of honor recipients staff sgt clinton romesha. ♪ ["hail to the chief"]
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>> let's pray. eternal god, from whom we come to whom we belong, and in whose service we find peace, such as written to be found in the spirit of truth and justice. on yourselves. the you men of valor -- of valor. be ready for the conflict. today, lord, we recognize men of valor, who in readiness for the conflict, the battle came upon them. their sacred story is one of life and death, suffering of servants faithfully rendered at the moment of truth. they belong to that small band
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of black knights. and a nation grateful for the men who follow and the men who lead. we offer our gratitude for the actions of those men that day and for the actions of arthur rhodes, an intense man, short and wiry. thank you for claiming their sacred story and writing it into our nation's history. we distill our highest honor on staff sergeant romesha and recognize his actions that day. we pray your abiding grace and eternal mercies upon the families, the friends who gave the last full measure of devotion that day. staff sgt vernon martin. sergeant gesten dagos. sgt joshua heart. sergeant -- what curt. sergeant michael cusack.
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specialists stephen manes. and pse kevin thompson. we ask your blessing on all of our servicemen and women and at home and abroad to support and defend our constitution. grant them guidance. we ask this in your holy name. amen. >> please, be seated, everybody. good afternoon. on behalf of mashal and myself, welcome to the white house. every day at the white house we received thousands of letters from folks all across america and at night upstairs in my study i read a few. about three years ago i
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received a letter from imam in west virginia. -- from a mom in west virginia. her son, just 21 years old, had given his life in afghanistan. she had received the condolence letter that i sent to her family, as i send to every family of the fallen. and she wrote me back. mr. president, she said, you wrote me a letter telling me that my son was a hero. i just wanted you to know what kind of hero he was. my son was a great soldier, she wrote. as far back as i can remember, steffan wanted to serve his country. she spoke of how he loved his brothers, how he would do anything for them, and of the brave actions that would cost
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him his life, she wrote, his sacrifice was driven by pure love. today, we are honored to be joined by stephan's mother, vanessa, and his father, larry. please stand, vanessa and larry. [applause] we are joined by the families of the seven other patriots who also gave their lives that day. can we still -- can we also have them stand, so we can honor them as well? [applause] we are joined by members of bravoed troops, whose courage
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that day was driven by pure love. and we gather to present the medal of honor to one of the soldiers, staff sgt clinton romesha. this is our nation's highest military decoration and it reflects the gratitude of our entire country. we're joined by members of congress, leaders from across our armed forces, including the secretary of defense leon panetta, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff marty dempsey, army secretary john mchugh, and army chief of staff general rhey gauthier now. we are especially onerous -- general ray odierno. are specially liked to be joined by the iron horse division. we welcome you to the ranks.
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you may have a sense that clinton is a pretty humble guy. we just spent some time together in the oval office. he grew up in lake city, calif., population less than 100. we welcome his family, including mom and dad, tisch and gary. i hope you do not mind that we share that he was actually born at home. these days, clinton works in the oilfields of north dakota. he is a man of faith. and after more than a decade in uniform, he says the thing he looks forward to the most is just being a husband and father. in fact, this is not even the biggest event for clinton this week. because tomorrow, he and his wife, tammy, will celebrate
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their 13th wedding anniversary. this is probably not the intimate kind of anniversary you plant. -- planned. [laughter] but we're so glad that you are here, along with your three children. colin is not as shy as clinton. [laughter] he was racing around the oval office pretty good. and he sampled a number of the apples before he found the weinbaum was just right. [laughter] -- the one that was just right. [laughter] to truly understand the act -- the extraordinary actions for which clinton is being honored, you need to understand the almost unbelievable conditions under which he and his troops serve.
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this is a time in 2009 when many of our troops still served in small, rugged outposts, even as our commanders were shifting the focus to larger towns and cities. combat outpost keating was a collection of buildings of concrete and plywood and trenches and sandbags. of all the outposts in afghanistan, keating was among the most remote. it stands at the bottom of a steep valley surrounded by mountains. terrain that a later investigation said gave ideal cover for insurgents to attack. the investigation found that it was tactically indefensible. that is what the soldiers were asked to do, defended the indefensible. the attack came in the morning just as the sun rose. some of the guys were standing guard. most, like light, were still sleeping. the explosions shook them out of their beds and sent them
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rushing for weapons. and soon, the odds became clear. these 53 americans were surrounded by more than 300 taliban fighters. what happened next has been described as one of the most intense battles of the entire war in afghanistan. the attackers had the advantage, a high ground, the mountains above. and they run the machine -- they were unleashing everything they had, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, snipers taking aim. to those americans coming -- to those americans down below, the fire was coming from every direction. they had never seen anything like it. with gun packed -- with gunfire impacting all around them, clinton raised to one of the barracks machine guns. he took aim at one of the enemy teams and took it out. a rocket-propelled grenade exploded, sending shrapnel into his hip, his arm, and into his neck. but he kept fighting,
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disregarding his own wound, and tending to an injured conrad instead. then over the radio came words no soldier ever wants to hear. enemy in the wire. the taliban had penetrated the camp and were taking over buildings. the combat was close, as taught -- at times as close as 10 feet. when clinton took aim at three of them, they never took another step. but still, the enemy advance. the americans pulled back to buildings that are easier to defend to make one last stand. one of them was later compared to the alamo -- one of them later compared it to the alamo. keating, it seemed, was going to be overrun. and that is when clinton romesha decided to take the camp back. he gathered up his guys and they began to fight their way
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back, storming one building, then another, pushing the enemy back, having to actually shoot up at the enemy in the mountains above. by now, most of the camp was on fire. amid the flames and smoke, clinton stood in the doorway, calling in an airstrike that shook the buildings around them. over the radio, they heard comrades pinned down in a humvee. clinton and his team unloaded everything they had into the enemy positions, and with that cover, three wounded americans made their escape, including a grievously injured stephany spirit -- steffan mace. but more injured were out there. clinton and his team started charging as enemy fire poured down. and it kept charging, 50 meters, 80 meters, ultimately, a 100-meter run through a hail of bullets. they reached their fallen friends and they brought them
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home. throughout history, the question has often been asked, why. why do those in uniform take such extraordinary risks? and what compels them to such courage? if you ask clinton and any of these soldiers here today, they will tell you, they fight for our country and for our freedom. they fight to come home to their families. most of all, they fight for each other, to keep each other safe, and to have each other's backs. i called clinton to tell him that he would receive his medal. he said he was honored, but he also said, it was not just me out there, but a team effort. so today, we also honor this american team, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice. private first class kevin thompson, who would have turned 26 years old today.
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sgt michaels cusack -- michael scuza. sergeant christopher griffin. staff sergeant justin gallegos. staff sgt vernon martin. sgt joshua heart. and a specialist steffan mace. each of these patriots gave their lives looking out for each other in a battle that raged all day. that brand of selflessness was displayed again and again and again. soldiers exposing themselves to enemy fire to pull a comrade to safety. tending to each other's loans, performing transfusions, giving each other their own blood. if you seek a measure that day, you need to look no further than the ribbons and medals that grace their chests. 37 army commendation medals. for their bones, 27 per parts.
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for their valor, 18 bronze stars. before their gallantry, nine silver stars. these men were outnumbered, outgunned, and almost overrun. looking back, one of them said, i'm surprised that we made it out. but here they are today. and this -- i ask this band of brothers to stand and except the gratitude of our entire nation. -- accept the gratitude of our entire nation. [applause]
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there are many lessons from this event. one of them is that our troops try never, ever be put in a position where they have to defend the indefensible. but that is what the soldiers did for each other in sacrifice driven by pure love. and because they did, eight breeding families were at least -- eight grieving families were able to welcome their sons home one last time, and many are there to carry on to keep alive the memories of their fallen brothers, and to help us to remember why this country remains strong and free. how so few americans prevailed against so many, as to prepare for the citation, i will leave you with the words of clinton himself. because they say something about the army and something
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about america. they say something about our spirit, which will never be broken. "we were not going to be beaten that day. we will not back down in the face of diversity like that -- adversity like that. we're just going to win, plain and simple." god bless you, clinton romesha, and all of your team. god bless all who serve, and god bless the united states of america. with that, i would like the citation to be ready. >> the president of the united states of america, authorized by act of congress, march 3, 1963,
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has awarded in the name of congress the medal of honor to staff sergeant clinton romesha, u.s. army, force -- for conspicuous gallantry and intricately above and beyond the call of duty. clinton romesha this in which and self at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in the fourth brigade combat team, fourth infantry division, during combat against an enemy in afghanistan on october 3, 2009. on that morning, staff sergeant romesha and his comrades awakened to an attack by an estimated 300 enemy fighters, employing concentrated fire from a rocket-propelled grenade from anti-aircraft machine guns, and small armed fighter -- fire
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as well as mortars. they were compelled to seek reinforcements from the barracks before returning action. staff sergeant romesha to god and an enemy machine-gun team, and while engaging a second, the generator he was using for cover was struck by an rpd, and looking him with shrapnel wound. undeterred by his injuries, he continued to fight and upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him and the assistant gunner, he then assembled as it -- additional soldiers. he mobilized a five-man team and it returned to the fight equipped with a sniper rifle. with out regard to his own safety, he consistently exposed himself to enemy fire as he moved confidently about the battlefield, killing many enemy fighters. while orchestrating a successful plan to secure and reinforced key point of the battlefield,
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staff sergeant romesha maintaine communication through radio with the tactical operations center. as the enemy forces attacked with greater ferocity, staff sergeant romesha identify the point of attack and directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters. after receiving reports of seriously injured soldiers at a distant opposition, he provided covering fire for them to safely reach the aid station. upon receiving the next objective, his team pushed forward 100 meters over -- under overwhelming enemy fire to prevent the fighters from taking the bodies of their fallen comrades. his heroic actions throughout the day-long battle were critical in suppressing far greater numbers. his efforts gave the opportunity to reorganize and prepare for a counterattack and allowed the trip to account for its personnel and security outpost.
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his discipline and extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty reflect great credit upon himself, bravo troupe, the third squadron, 64th cavalry regiment, fourth brigade combat team, fourth infantry division, and the united states army. [applause]
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>> let's pray. almighty god, we have gathered to give recognition to the spirit that made our country great, the willingness to give totally of ourselves even unto death. the great blessing of being a part of this country with the honor example of staff sergeant romesha, for this, we'd bring you thanks. we were deeply blessed by his presence. as his ancestors inspired his service, they inspire greater generations into service. the periphery of a province
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that we would be kept safe, that we return our hearts to you each and every day. we ask this in your holy name each and every day. amen. >> thank you, everybody. most of all, thank you for plant -- clinton and the entire team and their extraordinary devotion and service to our country. we will have an opportunity to celebrate. there will be a wonderful reception. i hear the food around here is pretty good. i know the band is good. and colin really needs to get down [laughter] enjoy, everybody. give our newest recipient of the medal of honor a big round of applause once again [applause] -- once again pureed [applause] -- once again. [applause]
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>> thank you for joining us
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today. in a moment, i will introduce clint romesha to you. he will in a quest day. he has a few remarks to make, but he will not be taking any questions today. if there are any questions you have, we will follow up with his phone number and everything. it is my privilege and honor to introduce a former staff sergeant, clint romesha 8. -- clint romesha. >> members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon thank you for sharing this very special day with me. i stand here with mixed emotions of both joy and sadness for me today. i do not think i am much
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different than a medal of honor recipient, first-class patriot, and farmers -- a sergeant junta. and feeling conflicted with this model i now where, the jury comes with the recognition -- the joy comes with the recognition of what we do on the battlefield, but is countered by the constant reminder of the loss of my battle buddies, my soldiers. my friends. i am grateful that some of the heroes of combat outpost keating are here with us. and any one of them will tell you we were not going to be beaten that day. i want them to know how proud i am of them. they trusted in may, a noncommissioned officer, to be their leader, and i thank them so much for that loyalty. i accept this tremendous honor
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on behalf of all soldiers who served with me that day. this award is for the eight soldiers who did not make it. and for the rest of the team that fought valiantly and magnificent the -- magnificently that day. i will forever be humbled by their bravery, their commitment to service, and their loyalty to one another. serving our nation in uniform is a privilege, especially during times of war. like my grandfather, my father, and my brothers, i am proud to have the opportunity to serve with some of the finest soldiers today. not only doing our mission in
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afghanistan, but on all of my deployments and tours in my 11 years in the army. our military service has strengthened, thanks to the tremendous support provided by military families and the american public. the strength of my wife and my family during my service is a key factor in my morale, in my will to fight. my loving wife has been a constant source of strength and inspiration. thank you, tammy. you are my rock. and thank you. >> i did not " ladybird often.
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in afghanistan by the taliban, i was here in texas, and we went shopping. the ladies that the cosmetic counters and the department store came up and said, thank you so much for speaking for women in afghanistan. >> influence and image. a first of its kind project. season one begins next monday.
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>> a look at reconstruction in afghanistan. this is 40 minutes. we take a look at your money and today's focus is rebuilding afghanistan. he is the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction. we were talking that you have your own acronym. the price tag so far is $87 billion. what is your role in overseeing that money? guest: well, sigar was set up by congress to oversee and make certain that it gets spent well. we are the special inspector general. i got the job appointed by the president in july.
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we are full service inspector general's office. we do audits, inspections, and criminal investigations. we have 200 people looking to see if the money is well spent. if there's any theft, we will investigate and turnover to the justice department for prosecution. host: do you have every single dollar of that $87 billion accounted for? guest: no. i don't think anybody -- and that's the problem. it is a hard area to work. that's the amount of money than has been appropriated so far. over the last 10 years. if you include the $10 billion or so that is in the president's budget, it comes close to $100 billion. of that amount, a good amount, almost $30 billion, even though it's appropriated, has not been spent. we are trying to get a handle on that right now. that is what we are focusing
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on, particularly now because of the changes that are occurring in afghanistan, the drawdown in troops, now's the time to focus on how we spend money wisely. host: so it has not been spent. as it left washington to afghanistan? guest: no, technically it is appropriated, has been obligated but not yet spent. some of it is right here in washington. what we are trying to do is we're not saying you cannot or should not spend it, but now's the time to rethink our strategy, particularly as the number of troops is going down, the security situation may change and it may have a direct impact on the success or failure of that money. host: let's look and how u.s. funds are being spent. total funding, the total
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authorized, $80 billion. the biggest piece of this pie is security. guest: many people when you think of the construction, you think about building schools, clinics, education, issues like that. the way that reconstructed is defined under the statute also includes security. over 50% of the amount of money we have spent actually goes to hiring, training, paying salaries, supporting the afghan national security forces, which is made up of their army, their national police, and their local police. so over 60% goes for that prevents what we're looking at also. host: why does it cost that much? is that a large figure when compared to what it takes to maintain our armed forces in the united states? guest: well, when this started, the country of afghanistan was
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in shambles. we had to rebuild the military, their security forces. this is -- the president has said and the vice president has talked about that this is the afghans' war and we are here to help them. it's important they have a security force to take over the responsibilities. we are rebuilding it almost from scratch. everything from the salaries to building bases for them, supplying from shoes to airplanes, that all is part of the afghan national security budget. that is a key element of our strategy to get out of afghanistan. host: $22 billion for governance. what does that mean? guest: talking about a country
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that was in shambles, again, after the taliban were kicked out. it is a country that has been at war for over 30 years. governance is everything from cleaning the streets to setting up a finance ministry to collect revenue. we and our allies have been spending billions of dollars to try to strengthen the government, rebuild that government so it can take on its responsibilities. host: your latest report, what are your concerns about how the moneys being spent? $4 billion for fuel for the afghan national army, questionable. the list goes on. guest: we're finding problems in lot of various. what we highlighted is that there are probably seven big areas, seven big questions, that if you are going to succeed -- and we hope the u.s. government and our allies succeed -- you need to focus on
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these seven questions to make certain you will succeed. one is the program or policy we are funding, does it? meet our national it surprisingly, sometimes these programs don't. as a matter of fact, they do the opposite. we want to make certain the afghans want these programs and policies. we have to make certain that a coordinated. we consider the security implications and what that means for managing or overseeing a contract. also have to take into consideration the serious problem of corruption there. sustainability is another big issue. to go back to your question, what is the problem? the seven questions lay out what we say are the big problems. congress needs to hold the
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executive branch accountable and the executive branch needs to review their programs to make certain they answer those questions in the affirmative. if they do, that program is more likely to succeed and to fail. if they don't, you see the problems we have identified in the report and they will reoccur again and again. host: let's show our viewers some pictures from your report. here's a largely unused border police facility, $7 million for this. you identified $6 million for questionable repairs to afghan police vehicles. here's a picture of some of the vehicles. the list included vehicles that were ultimately destroyed. they could not even be repaired. who is requesting money for these types of projects? is it the afghans or our military soldiers? guest: it is all the above. sometimes none of the above. that's where we are going back
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to the seven questions. it is so surprising that we will come into -- and i think that you've cited one of the garrisons that we inspected -- apparently, nobody spoke to the afghans. so it was built. somebody had a great idea to build this garrison. we have seen this repeatedly, where we are not even telling the afghans what we are building. now we are planning to turn things over to them. if it's not coordinated with them, it will be hard for them to sustain. we found schools, clinics where the afghans don't even know we are building it until the end when we give them the keys that they say, you have a new school and you'll have to support it. who is doing this? a lot of these come from the u.s. military. a lot of it comes from aid. but it goes back to the seven questions.
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if they ask those seven questions and really hold themselves accountable, we should not have these problems. host: let's get our viewers involved. the inspector general responsible for looking at the money in rebuilding afghanistan. in new jersey, an independent caller. caller: good morning. i am a member of the green party. there are global implications even force afghanistan and it deals with land reform. the idea of value captured, this is something even the world bank is looking at. from what i have read of the economic activity in cities like kabul, there's a great deal of land speculation. we feel very strongly that the value capture idea or land on taxation will go a long way to channeling resources that are made available away from the land grabbing interests in the
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country to the actual people who need the resources, to pay for public goods and services. i would be interested to know is land reform in your report and how is evaluated at? member two, the whole issue of value capture, is on the table in discussions with afghanistan's political leaders? guest: i know land reform and land prices are serious issue over there. the last time i was in afghanistan was last week. afghan nationals and some of our people told us how the prices have gone up dramatically. i don't know how the afghan government is going about capturing the increase in prices, the value. we are looking currently at the capability of the afghan government to collect taxes and how, because that is part of the governance issue, they
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cannot collect taxes. they cannot sustain all the things we are building for them if they cannot collect taxes. that's a serious problem. whether valuation and paying property taxes or whatever the answer, i don't know. i don't develop the programs, i don't develop policy, i don't do foreign policy or military policy or military objectives. once congress and the executive branch decide what the policy or program is, then we see how well it's done and if there are problems, we make recommendations. going back to the taxation issue, it's a critical issue. now the afghan government, what they collect is about $2 billion per year. just paying for the afghan national security force is over $4 billion. then all the other programs. the problem is there's a delta
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between what the afghans collect and it cost of running their government, the cost of fighting the taliban, the cost of maintaining order. that difference is being supported by the united states taxpayer and by our allies. but it is conditioned. the caller and others have some concerns about how well that is being spent. that is the value. a lot of discussion came out of the tokyo accords about the international community will not walk, but they're trying to put conditions on the ability of the afghan government to govern and to fight corruption. people see what happens on that. host: how many times have you been to of tennis fans? guest: i've been there twice and have only been on the job seven months. you have to get there and kick the tires. i usually go two since a time. i plan to go there every quarter. >> when you are there
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investigating a certain program, what did you hear the most from afghans about how the money was being used? what is the biggest excuse? anst: i don't know about excuse. the biggest concern was the afghans that i need as well as the u.s. military and officials there are two. the two biggest are corruption and security. youou don't have security, are not going to have good governance. all of these programs are at risk. the other issue is corruption. we're not talking about nickels or dimes. we are talking about major corruption. polling has been done of the afghan people, it's the biggest issue. corruption at the local and national level. host: $87 billion authorized to be spent. how much has been lost to corruption? guest: that's a hard figure to get. a lot.
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but the amount of corruption, i will be bad for the historians to figure out. host: billions? guest: definitely. my job is to try to prevent this. if we find american citizens or others who have profited by it, it's my job to investigate and turn over to prosecutors. it's a nice figure to debate, but the important thing is how do we stop that impacting our program? host: on twitter -- guest: that's correct. or they came with running water and electricity supply system and the big concern is they did not think in terms of how the afghans are going to sustain this. some very sophisticated systems. one of the reports i came out with the, it is funny except for the fact it is taxpayer money is involved. the waste water treatment
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center is up the hill and not down the hill. you have to pump out the sewage. to run the pumps it is so exorbitant, there's no way the afghans can do it. so the sewage treatment plant will fail and all the raw sewage will run through the middle of the base, but nobody ever thought about that. right next to the base is a power line. nobody thought about tapping into the power line as a source of electricity rather than use a generator. and it's very difficult to get fuel to this base in particular and it will be extremely costly. host: on the democratic line, harry. caller: my question, all the money we're spending to rebuild afghanistan, i live in a state that just got hammered with a storm and we are having a hard time getting money from congress to rebuild here. is there a plan in place, once this is all done and we sent the
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$90 billion to get this taken care of, is there any plan in place to get repaid for all of this and put it back in our treasury so that it can come home and do fundamentally good things to our infrastructure, which needs a lot of work, roads and bridges etc. guest: i don't know of any plan in place that the afghans are born to be paying us for this. again, that is more of a policy debate that i am not part of. like't know of anything that. host: on twitter -- guest: there are a lot of allegations floating around, stuff in the press. i have no facts indicating president karzai or the president is involved in any criminal activity.
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host: it is something you looked into? guest: we look into all allegations we get. it has to be based in fact and not just assumptions. host: richard in louisiana, republican. caller: good morning. hello? host: you are on the air. caller: a lot of troops have been killed by afghan soldiers. what kind of security are we going to have to protect our soldiers from these army and police and all these people who are supposed to be trained by us but are turning against us? my question is, are we going to continue training these people and getting killed by these people? host: the policy question.
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but is that part of the cost, when we look at the security figure of $51 billion? we trained afghans and then they don't want to be part of the security force any more. guest: the answer the question. the whole issue of green on blow, which is basically afghans killing coalition forces. it's a big issue. it relates to reconstruction, because the way we define the construction is the training, the supplying, the vetting of the afghan army and other elements of the national security forces. there are many ig's operating, where the largest operating in afghanistan. we try to divide our work. the dod ig is doing a job of looking at that particular issue. so we divide the work out there. gao has looked at it.
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you're looking at some issues related to that. number one, we raised questions in the report about how many afghans are actually in the military? there are questions of double counting and questions we cannot verify the number. that's a significant number. we are looking at the whole problem of literacy. we're also looking at some issues about supporting the afghan troops. your caller is raised a good issue. that's a serious issue. it goes into the whole issue of security. if our military has a problem getting around the country, you can imagine what the problem is 4-d aid contracting officers or the state department contracting officers or four the aid and dot contract and officers and my people to get around to the basis to see where we have spent the money. there are certain places now where we cannot get to because they are too dangerous even with u.s. military, or there are places where the u.s. military can no longer get to
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because if it's outside the golden bubble. host: sigar.mil is read the report is if you want to read it. and there's a hotline. guest: the hot line is for people who have seen problems and want to report fraud or crimes. >> we will put on the screen. guest: or you can e-mail us. host: on twitter -- how much to you look at that as part of this? guest: absolutely, we look at
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it. our bread and butter is looking at contracts and contractors and how good or bad they are. you hit something on the head. our u.s. government does not know how many contractors are being paid by them right now in afghanistan. host: why? guest: because the records are so poor. we got a pretty good handle on the prime contractors. but since we're dealing with a lot of subs, there's no visibility on the subcontractors. we're sending a letter out to every major contractor and to give us those numbers. that's the pathetic thing. here we are 10 years into the warm and we don't even know who is getting our money. host: how are you able to do your job? guest: with great difficulty. we picked up information, we get the primes, but we have no visibility on the subs. that's a constant problem with the u.s. government in general.
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in afghanistan we had a policy that we were going to try to get the afghans to do the work. unlike in iraq where was mainly u.s. contractors so you could reach out and touch someone, i had subpoena authority over them and i could get them. whereas here your primes are afghans and the subs are hundreds of different thousands of companies that change names overnight. it's hard to track them down and hard to prosecute them if they do violate the law, because we have no u.s. nexus. aboutwe're talking oversight of money spent to rebuild afghanistan with u.s. dollars, taxpayer dollars, on this monday. if you are republican, democrat, or independent, call. you can also send us a tweet.
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tim is in freeport, illinois. thanks for waiting. caller: i've been interested in government overspending for particularly the military. i'm a proud american and i love our people will serve our government. but when i was in the navy between 1980 and 1983 i was on a the ships health and welfare committee. the other people sitting at the desk, officers and such, were surprised. i noticed a lot of the things that we were buying on a navy ship there's a lot of redundancy, so you are may be buying two or its three instead of just one. it's not that we are buying too much, we are spending too much on what we are buying. guest: that is a common problem and i think you are highlighting what we are
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finding. we are spending too much and not getting much in return. we are trying to figure that out. i would like to add on something 20 said. he said that he was an e2 in the navy in 1989 through 1982. sergeants,ven the whatever rank you are in the military, whatever support staffs, you can make a difference. it just made me think, when i was in afghanistan last time, i ran into two soldiers from the iowa national guard, is sergeant and a lieutenant colonel. i want to tell a little story because it goes back to what the caller was talking about. these guys came in.
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their job was to manage the fuel depot and one of our bases. it makes me so proud. the sergeant looked at a few bass that was handed over to him by some other military officer or enlisted man. he said something is wrong here, this does not make sense. i know something about fuel. he is a mayor from a small town in iowa, typical national guard, citizen soldier, comes into his job and says there's something wrong here. he tells his costs, the lieutenant colonel. you are handing over fuel and we don't have it. so we started looking at the records and he could only go so far, and he recognized there was a problem. fortunately, i have people all over afghanistan. he remembered running into one of our agents, picked up the phone or e-mail us my guy and
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my guys started looking and it led to indictments and convictions. it led to a senior afghan getting convicted and getting jail time. but it led to the savings of about $19 million of fuel. that was just a sergeant and his boss, the lieutenant colonel. if that can be multiplied throughout bases throughout the united states, then we will not be double billed or overcharged. it is enlisted men who say this is wrong. it's why we get a lot of people calling who come back from a tour overseas and they say i saw something there that made no sense. host: on twitter -- are the afghan contractors possibly a front for american contractors? guest: there's some of that.
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guest: there's some of that. some are friends for other afghans, fronts for other entities. there are a lot of u.s. contractors there, yes. we had a policy, therefore it's a little more difficult in afghanistan than it was in iraq to identify. still you have to identify the subs. those are the people doing the work. many times we find out because the subs have not been paid by the crimes, to adjust walked off with the money. host: here is a headline from the baltimore sun -- your thoughts? guest: that part of security and the afghan national security forces, over 50 percent of our funding goes to the afghan
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military, national police, and local police. they're trying to emphasize the local police. we will be looking at how we pay for and support the local police, which will be very difficult. host: why? guest: because they are spread all over. getting the fuel and equipment or whatever to the local police offices will be. host: even: they use the word lifeline. what does that say to you? guest: i don't know the context of the article, but the life line could be looking at how we support. the difficulty is how they get fuel and infrastructure out to the local police. this could be the lifeline -- again, i don't know the context or via article, but a lot of local units are in small villages and it's difficult to get to. they may be in trouble. and perhaps because they are out there, they are our first
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indication of problems and will be the first indication of problems to the afghans. host: democratic caller in mississippi, winston, you are on the air. caller: i'm calling from mississippi. i have two nieces in afghanistan right now. i don't want them over there. i want them back home. i don't understand why it couldn't drones cannot do the mission? $88 million. what that would mean to our borders, our education, our children? [indiscernible] it does not seem fair that we have to go over there and to lose soldiers for this purpose. host: your thoughts? guest: again, that is a decision that policy makers will have to make. why we are there or how long we stay or decisions about my pay grade.
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my job is, now that we are there, are we spending the money well? if we are not, how do we improve? the overall policy decisions are for congress and the executive branch. guest: you have raised a good point. i think people keep thinking about december of 2014, the troupe drawdown will be december 2014. as an afghan told me and as general allen told me last time i was there, he said the world does not end of december 2014, there still will be a u.s. presence, military will be smaller, a lot smaller, but there will be a bigger and more
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important presence in the reconstruction. so we will be there. the tweet is correct. we plan to be there beyond 2014. host: what about your office? guest: my office will probably be around too. the way the statute was created. we are temporary agency. we are set up to handle the situation. it was a crisis. at some point we go out of existence. what is triggered is when the amount of money not spent falls below $250 million and there's no need for us. we go out of existence. everybody works for me knows
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that. when that happens, then the normal ig's will have their normal functions. so it would be a small enough amount for them to handle. host: when will that happen? guest: we will see. it could be years. host: you mentioned a conversation with general allen,. how often do you talk to him? guest: i spoke to him every time i was there. i have talked to him subsequently via phone and e- mail. he was a great support for our team. we need the military not only for protection but also to
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identify problems. he identified certain problems. i have to give general allen and his team credit. nobody likes an inspector general, particularly an independent inspector general. it is little prickly relationship we have with everybody, but general allen always took all of our reports seriously and did what we identified. i'm happy and i wish him all the best in his next hour. host: that's the headline in the baltimore sun. general john allen in the picture as well resigning course stepping down from that post. jeff in edison, new jersey, democrat. caller: i have a friend from long island and her son has done three deployments in afghanistan. what was told to me and also what was given to congressman king in new york about this was that the magazines that the soldiers are using in
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afghanistan are jamming and putting their lives at risk. and congressman king from new york has been evading that particular question. and they are using the vietnam era magazine. it is jamming. again, they're putting their soldiers at risk. host: john sopko? guest: i have not heard anything about that allegation. if we do have allegations about the equipment are u.s. troops are doing, i would send that to the dod ig. i do reconstruction during the actual fighting, the dod and ig, that is their responsibility. i'm certain they will look into that if there's a concern about the weapons that are u.s. troops are using. i would be looking at the weapons that are supplied to the afghan military.
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host: mount vernon, new york, republican, jane. caller: good morning. this is my second call and i am nervous. why can't you stop the money going in? the amount of money you cannot account for, subtract that from the amount that president karzai would be getting or whoever would be getting until they can account for the money themselves? you have people out there that are working and they're being paid, they should not be paid. just like in the united states. we don't get paid if we don't
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work. guest: good question. i cannot control the money. i'm inspector general ervin. i can expose problems. we have exposed problems like that and have made recommendations that they should either' or not increase funding or lessen the funding for certain programs. we did a major audit on patrol in oils and lubricants. that sounds boring, but it's billions of dollars that we give and basically by purchasing petroleum, oil, and lubricants for the afghan national security forces. we took a look. we cannot find any justification for spending the
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amount. we definitely could not find justification for expanding the amount. we told congress to do it. ultimately, congress is the one who can turn off the spigot. i can only recommend to congress. i highly recommend that the cholera and other callers go to our website and look at the quarterly report, look at those seven questions. if it resonates with them, if they are concerned about it, it gives you a good way forward. what we're basically saying is now is the time. we have the best opportunity in the world to improve the construction, but it is an opportunity for congress and the executive branch to stop and read think how we should proceed, particularly as security changes there. host: give us a successful story of a program. guest: i would like to say there are a lot of success stories. there are some. if you look at the education system in afghanistan, if you look at the health system, it was in shambles. very few kids were going to school in 2001-2002. a tremendous number of kids now going to school because of u.s.
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assistance and international assistance. and the girls are going to school. likewise with the medical system and health care system. it was in shambles. there was nothing going on. a lot of u.s. taxpayer dollars and international money and health care has improved. is there a long way to go? yes, but those are two success stories. those are a success because in many cases they answered -- they asked a question and answer them correctly. when you ask those questions and enter them correctly, you are more likely to succeed than to fail. host: john sopko, talking about the seven questions in the latest report. go to the website on your screen to get a better idea of the report and to dig into it yourself. the $87 billion authorized so far for rebuilding afghanistan. the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction, thanks for talking with our viewers. guest: my pleasure. host: washington journal will be back tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern time for more of your phone calls. thanks for watching. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> in a few moments --
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>> several live events to tell you about. gun violence hearing. and a hearing on the impact of sequestration. and the armed services committee will meet again tomorrow to vote on the nomination of chuck hagel, the secretary of defense. that is on at 2:30 p.m. eastern. now, a discussion about journalism and digital media. chris hughes spoke at harvard university for an hour. >> turn off your cell phones, please.
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>> hello, i am director here. we are very glad to have you all with us today. it is my particular pleasure to welcome chris hughes to the ranks of the wretches of this world. he has entered a world steeped in tradition. interview will be recorded by c-span, so i would ask you to be mindful of that when you come down to ask questions. for those interested, the has htag is #chrishughes.
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he is someone who is a southerner and from north carolina who got himself to harvard and managed to be the roommate of mark soccer burke, at a time of great historical importance, the creation of facebook. he told me a moment ago he was taking five class -- five classes while that was going on and still managed to graduate with a magna a couple years later. facebook is something that has changed the world. mark zuckerberg was the fourth. firth.e3 th the fth.i
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you went to work for facebook and left facebook in 2007 in order to work for the barack obama campaign. that was something that was anything but a sure thing then. it was something consistent with the kinds of things crist talks about cents, -- chris talks about sesince. a publication of the new republic, also in failing health, and has in the months made an awful lot of dust and cause an awful lot of interest because he made himself publisher and editor in chief, but he is actively engaged in reshaping it and has clear
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ambitions to make ""the new republic"" something among the most influential and most important magazines in the country. he is serious about high-quality journalism. that is the thing he talks about. but his focus is not just about digital technology. he is taking the venerable institution and journalism and looking at them informed by his deep knowledge of digital technology and also with a different set of values that are more traditional. it is my great pleasure to welcome you here. the changing media landscape, smart news in the age of social media. glad to have you. >> thank you. [applause]
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it is particularly nice to be back across the street from the house where we started facebook nine years ago yesterday. february 4, 2004, is where we open it up. we woke up and there were hundreds of people on it already. and i thought i would talk a little bit to give you a context on what we are doing at "the new republic" and how i see the digital media landscape in 2013 and then open it up for questions and hopefully get a good dialogue going. the first question people ask me all the time is, why would someone like you buy this 100-
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year-old media institution like "the new republic" in an age when the wisdom is, print is dying, serious journalism is under threat, so why would you be crazy enough to take this on? it has got to be either a vanity project or i have got to have some political ax to grind or some ulterior motive. other people look at me like i am crazy. the truth of it is i bought "the new republic" because i believe in the power of good writing to shape the world. that sounds incredibly idealistic. it is. it is lofty. but i am not ashamed of it. the people we have at "the new republic" embarking on this project now are a pretty idealistic group. i follow in the footsteps of the
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founders of "the new republic" 100 years ago. if you look back at what they were riding when the magazine was starting, they, too, were pretty idealistic. they were starting a magazine just as war was breaking out in europe. they, too, brought a sense of hopefulness to their project. one was quoted as saying, the purpose was -- in the realm of our reach -- reader's convections -- convictions. what does that mean for alaskus? our core editorial focus is to challenge our readers' assumptions.
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doesn't all media do that? in 2013, it does not. on one end of the spectrum, we have where you knew -- where newspapers used to be the dominant method, but it has grown. ," is now "the new york times the "huffington post," "the daily beast." there are sites that give you information about what happened yesterday. the headlines about what you read. at the other end of the spectrum, historically, there has been magazines, which have been thought of as being largely about storytelling.
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think about the new york times magazine, or the new yorker, or other venerable books, other venerable publications, which time -- take time to read, and a patient and educated audience. for us, we are trying to position ourselves in the space between these two. the goal at "the new republic" is to do great writing, the kind that is good if not better, but to do it about important and timely topics that our readers want to know about the. there is a level of urgency to the type of journalism we want to do. everything we publish editorially, we ask ourselves,
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why is this important? we do not want to just tell stories. we do not think most modern consumers of news want stories for the sake of stories. the great riding is important, but the news has to be about something important and that matters. in the past year, we have gone -- done a lot of research and have found this is what readers want today. they want great writing, but they wanted to be highly relevant to the topics -- wanted it to be highly relevant to the topics already in mind. it is not just content that is enough for us. we started doing this, to build
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a type of technology. this will be a constant, ongoing project. how many devices exist, how many different devices consume comment -- content, but we have tried to adapt to how people are reading. the vast majority of people interface with "the new republic" digitally first. we have to million monthly. even before you redesigned web site, 20% of the folks, from mobile devices. we build a web product which is responsive to the browser you are using. we are using the same content management system and the same things on the back end. when the reader goes to it, we
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know if you are reading on your iphone, android device, ipad, it adapts to the experience. we have also added a lot of small features which, some of them came out of what we wanted as a team in reading and some came out of the conversations and research we did. if you start reading a 2000-word piece at your computer at lunch, you can take it back up where you left off on your phone. if you start reading something over the weekend and you want to read it back at work, we know where you were and we can take you right to the bookmark. if you are committing on a treadmill, or want to play it in the background while you are at your desk, you can listen to it being read to you. pp, there is a laundry
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list. we are not just putting it on a website and calling it a day. we are putting it on the web site, trying to understand and go to our readers where they are reading it and have an editorial staff continue to engage in the conversations happening after the content is originally published. at our new web site, you can do footnotes, and a lot of writers have a lot of ideas that do not make it into the text. they can now put footnotes in things. they can add little comments in the margin. it is also a place where we can continue to curate the social conversations that are happening after a piece is published. the old model would have been to
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write a piece and it comes out in the newspaper the next day and you are done. now, you write a piece and posted on the web, but not only are journalists responsible for promoting it, but also for engaging in a dialect out -- dialogue with people on twitter and facebook, people who hate it and loved it. if we have a piece that makes it on to john stuart as it did last week, along side of a common with somebody saying this is completely wrong, miss the whole point, -- missed the whole point, which is an important and dynamic. the conversations after the piece is where a lot of impact can happen. in all of this, there are two major objections -- questions
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about our work and whether or not it can be successful, trying to take serious journalism and adapted to a digital age. the first is that in the age of twitter and facebook, are people really seriously interested in reading quality journalism? this is one of my favorite questions. i feel like my own background in the world of social media hits up against the world of serious journalism all the time. what we see in our data is that social media is not actually competing with the attention span of people reading longer pieces, or more substantive quality journalism. more often than not, it is enabling that to happen more increasingly. before social media, we would have had to rely on just our brand to have people come in and
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type newrepublic.com into the ir browser. because we are enabling people to read our stuff and share it and attract a larger and larger following, a lot of readers are brought in that have not known the brand before but who are excited and interested in reading it. over 20% of our traffic is now coming from twitter and facebook and reddit. that is about double what it was a year ago. part of that is our social media strategy. a lot of that is the evolving nature of the internet and the way people discover our content. another data point on this is
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pew is doing incredibly great research on reading in a digital age. one of my favorite studies to site, because it is so mind- boggling, came out in the fall. they were looking at reading amongst people who were 16 to 30. what they found is that those people were actually reading as many if not slightly more statistically as many books they had in the past. reading books was not down among said demographics. you are just as likely to have read it on your mobile phone as you were in print. there is a wrinkle there. print may have been hired. the mobile phone was higher than ipad, or any type of tablet, and higher than any other message you would assume people are moving for removing to -- as
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some people are moving to -- assume people are moving to ebook. there are people who are people are reading full books while in bed. that is a key way they are consuming this long form type of content. they are consuming at the same rate as they have historically. the first approach made it as easy as possible to read on iphone. even though it seems counterintuitive, who would want to read a 2000-page piece on iphone, more and more are interested. the second point of view is around our ability to monetize. and to be a successful business.
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on this one, i wish i could even pretend like we have all the answers. we have some hypotheses that we are testing. it is going to take some time to know if our hypotheses are right. it requires a certain amount of patience on these questions. the way that we are thinking about it, that i think about it in particular, outside of a few highly professionalized verticals, things like finance, sports, very clear verticals, people are not generally willing to pay for access to content. in a digital environment. they are interesting -- they are interested in supporting brands. i think they are interested and still willing to pay for experience.
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experiences are different than access. to be a little bit more precise about this, the old model used to be you give us $35 and we give you 20 issues of print. for a very long time, until the web and all the business models were disrupted. now, our model is you give us $35 and you get print but you also get our experiential products. it did -- the digital colom is all the things i was talking about before. unlimited access, commenting, several things in that list. you get access to subscriber- only events, which we are doing at least once a month in major cities and some secondary markets, ann arbor, austin,
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places where there are a lot of people interested in the type of journalism we do. whether or not that will be enough is an open question pri is certainly part of the trend where journalists are not just researching and writing. they are researching, writing, promoting, engaging in dialogue, and being important participants in events and interacting with their readers. other brands in our field have moved on to cafes, retail, particularly monocle, 20% of their revenue comes from their stores, which they have dozens of around the world. and there are still other ideas. from mice -- from my perspective, an era where they -- where there were sizable
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profits in this industry is over. the second part of the 20th century. we now have to adapt to a different kind of business. it is a double bottom line business. that is the right way to think about it. we have a mission that is important to the world. at the same time, we have a profit mission. we have to find some business model which will return us to the point of prosperity that was the case 20 or 30 years ago in this industry. i think it is wishful thinking. to say a word about advertising, the advertising market is very slowly changing and shifting. it is a challenge for us and everyone else. one of the things i am focused on the most is trying to help advertisers focus on real valuable metrics and not just the top line, superficial ones
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that most people ask about. things like page views or unique visitors do not necessarily tell you anything about the level of engagement or how good a digital or web product is. if you want to boost page views or unique users, anything past headlines, that is all day long. you can get lots of people to click on a headline. they can count it as a unique user, but whether or not the journalism is quality, whether or not a person is lingering there and interacting with an advertiser's content, these questions are asked by topline metrics. i have started to engage with a lot of the advertising community a bit more over the last few months. a lot of people are thinking creatively about new solutions here. more often than not, custom
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solutions are built per brand, per advertiser, not just for the new republic. to understand how these products exist, what the interactions are like, and how they can monetize them. all of these ideas -- the last thing i will say before opening up for questions is one of the key things we are trying to do in the republic, which has very much been in the valley of the silicon valley for a long time but not so much in this industry is taking a highly experimental approach. in silicon valley, the expectations for a venture capitalist is that she or he will invest in 10 different companies and hopefully one of them will be a great success, two of them will be ok, and more often than not, seven of them
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will fail. but that is okay. for us, we are trying lots of different ideas. i do not expect any one of these, from a technological perspective or business perspective, to be a silver bullet and for us to discover the cure to all of our ills. we have to create a culture inside of our company. this is the same thing for giants like the new york times or small, emerging blogs. you have to create a culture where there is a high amount of experimentation. where we continue to experiment with new ideas to see what will succeed. that is not something that has necessarily been part of the dna or culture of the world of journalism for a long time. there are a lot of brands and people out there that are trying
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to do that increasingly. as long as that continues to be the case, it gives me a lot of optimism not only about the state of what we're doing, but the state of the injured -- the industry in the future. >> we will have a conversation for a few minutes and then open it up to you. on the business side, what are the things that people find unpleasant in buying enterprises that are losing money? do you have a tolerance for basically funding lawsuits for a while? you have spent money. >> what is the definition of a while? >> have you thought about that or are you going to let that take care of itself. >> i spend them majority of my time on the business. >> doesn't have to be
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profitable? >> i think it should be profitable and it is up to our self to find a profitable model. i am not saying that we are going to be making a lot of money hand over fist. i am in this for the journalism, not to make a lot of money for myself. the profitability is synonymous with sustainability. once you get the company to a point where the journalism is to a national marketer demand our products, then the companies can leave the question is, how long will it take us to get there. there is no way that we can get there without serious investment. if that means losses this year, it may mean losses next year.
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i do think we can sustain it this year and next year. >> the idea of heaven was 1 pound of more than he spent and the was the other. the point is, that essentially says sustainability is more of a break even that is a different stand and one that will not be as hard. in the business of journalism, this is the journalism. the standard for profitability is significantly more than that. that is going to be easier and that is good as far as those of us who cares about -- who care about the journalism. i want to talk to you about the journalism for a moment. what kind of made journalistic enterprise the what the new republic to be. do you want to be there -- a place where the reporting is
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considered to be strong, where the analysis and opinion are strong? how do you weigh those and imagine how you mix those things? >> historically, we have had a lot of that kind of journalism. before the internet, the role all opinion journalism was incredibly important. if you were somebody trying to get your opinion out there so it was part of a mix and conversation in washington, and you had to go through a handful of print publications and have it be included in those pages. it is worthwhile to remember because it is so different from the model of the universe that we live in now.
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if you have your own blog, somebody else would be happy to post it for you. you can also go to twitter and all of the outlets for people to share their opinions. plenty of opinions. the shift that we are trying to make, we will continue to do some opinion journalism to be part of the debate. where the market demand is and what people really want is the type of journalism that is more contextual, deeper journalism that searches for new points or exposes new ideas, not just sharing another opinion about what is happening in the world. that is where the hole is in the marketplace. >> i have read about your
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experience as the editor in chief at the new republic. you stopped a magazine cover because you found it to the -- i do not think that is a small thing. i would like to know how you're thinking works and what were you trying to do? >> we do not call people names. we can have intelligent debate about a lot of different topics and call people out, but calling people out is different than calling people names. i bought the magazine on a thursday and this was the next week. i literally did not even know where the printer was, let alone how the logistics around it happen. it sounds quite dramatic. i got sent to cover and i was like, we need to change that. by that point, it was already out at press, which i wish i would have known. >> it would cost you x in order to do this, i would imagine.
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>> because the new republic circulation network is not as large, the cost was not significant at all. but you are going to highlight, i think it is important -- there are lots of places on the internet where you can call people names. there are not that many were you can call people out in a substantive, thoughtful way. of course, people do it. but some of the brand perspective, we have to do reported journalism and the types of opinion journalism that is well-documented and well- thought out. if you put a word and a headline that call somebody a nut or baby or whatever, you immediately turn them off. if you are trying to get the other side to listen, trying to
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engage in a debate, the first thing that you should not do is call them names. if there is some difference there historically, it is an important point. >> the thing that is interesting to me is, the headline referred to wall street guys as crybabies. you found that -- you changed it. >> i do not even remember. >> pliers? >> i honestly do not remember. one of our reporters wrote a piece on why so many people in wall street were so upset about the administration and a lot of the policies that barack obama had been implementing. you can argue that the administration was much more sensitive to wall street than it was to main street in the course
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of the first term. incredibly well-reported. he had talked to all of these hedge fund guys. the question was, do we want to call them out and force them to think about whether or not their hands are reasonable? you are not going to be able to do that if the first thing that they see is you are calling them babies. >> it is a part of the web now and part of the culture, especially of magazine journalism. they are calculatingly provocative. they need to get people to read them. the values of the web journalistically are far more than something that would be considered safe. >> you are using unique as your master, like most countries do, then you want to write things that are provocative, enraging, because it works on both sides. it gets the people to agree with that and they want to read it.
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it angers the other side. if that is the goal, a lot of journalism on the web does do that. there are a lot of people like myself who, when it comes to opinion journalism, i feel like i have plenty of it. everyone has twitter and i love a lot of the people that i read. i have plenty of different opinions and perspectives. what we have found in a lot of conversations and research we have done is that people want new sources that are thought- provoking, not necessarily unbiased, but in our category, i am talking about all types of news consumers. politically savvy people. they want unbiased, highly- reported coverage. >> those of you have questions
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for chris can come and line up at these two microphones. >> just to clarify that last point, it is important that we are focused on a relatively specific group of people. college-dedicated folks who follow a somewhat closely and are politically savvy but also want to know about film, literature, social movements. that level of focus it enables us to have that perspective in a different way than if we were running a television network or focusing on a larger, more diverse demographic. >> i wonder if you could address some of the opportunities you see on the horizon in terms of engaging new republic audiences, whether it
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is the next generation of crowds sourcing or whatever it is to engage the audience in ways that intersect with the double lines that you described. an impact both on your social consequence as well as your sustainability. it begins with engaging them in the journalism. >> what we are trying to do is go to our readers rather than necessarily create new products to come to us. being very much engaged with the conversation, particularly on twitter and to some extent on facebook, is a real important strategic priority for what we're doing. we are experimenting with ideas are around how to use technology to engage in those dialogues, something like google hang out. we use that a lot because we have about 25 folks in new york
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and 30 in washington. we have tvs in conference rooms and have them connected with gul will hang out. it means you can going to a conference room and maybe not have a face-to-face conversation, but it is the next best thing. we have a culture of people using google hang out all the time. what if our reporters were engaging in a dialogue? one in new york and one in washington. experts talked to some of the people reading it and had criticisms with it. there are opportunities there. will that work? will people want that? i do not know. when i talk about a culture of experimentation, these are things i really want to try to see if it makes sense or does not.
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>> the social media environment is in place where we have to go first to engage. what we know is important is engaging on twitter and to some extent, facebook. >> our next questioner is a colleague who i have not seen in a long time. michael, who you may are my for -- you may or may not know, i suspect he will be writing for the republic. >> i have written for the new republic for many years and i am very enthusiastic about what you are proposing to do. it seems really good to me. the one question i had was about the association of the new republic with liberalism. for the better part of a century, people think about the new republic as a liberal magazine. i am wondering what that mission means to you and how it will change under your leadership.
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>> what i do not want is for the new republic to have an editorial line where we get in the business of hiring and not hiring people because they agree or disagree with that particular viewpoint. what i do want is for us to practice the type of journalism which does not necessarily pertain to be -- where the journalists pretend not to have certain opinions. one of the issues structurally with media today is there is still this he said this, she said that, let the reader decide. the type of journalism we do, what is great about our reporters is they engage, they learn, and they have an assessment. hopefully they include that in their peace. the vast majority of our readers and writers are generally
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liberal folks. pretty sure most if not all of them voted for obama. i think they share a similar world view as our readers. i did not buy a magazine to expand a liberal outlet. i bought it for the type of journalism that we can do inside it. different people can say different things about how that intersects historically. we did some quantitative research around this question. do you know the new republic? yes. do you think it is liberal or conservative. most people thought it was liberal. it is really interesting because a lot of folks will say they used to support the editorial board before the iraq war.
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it is very conservative. other people will have the opposite viewpoint. what i end up saying is we do not have a party line anymore. we have a lot of reporters, a lot of different opinions. each one of them can help. some of them you will love, some of them you will hate. >> are you going to write a column or have any editorial voice? >> i will probably write some. i have not yet. i am focused on the business and how many years of losses we are willing to put. i definitely will right, but it is important, in an initial for me to be clear that i did not by the new republic and i am not here to amplify my own voice. i am here to empower the people who do this for a living. >> i am the editor in chief at
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the harvard review of latin- american people of journalistic descent. you're doing an amazing job of trying to blend of journalistic cultures. many of my students know the new republic for the movie shattered glass." detected a major breach of journalism ethics in which a journalist was making things up. in the internet culture, there is much more of a culture of passing things along and repeating things. in the print culture, that is what the new republic defended by firing glass.
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truth. i was wondering, as you take over this magazine, what does your fact checking process look like and are you writing a new code of ethics? in that code of ethics, how are you taking into account trying to read these two cultures? >> fact checking is incredibly important to what we do for two reasons. one, whatever we are publishing, we want to make sure the fact that we are siding are right. -- are citing are right. it is incredibly important for us as a company, for our brand. when the key differences between us and a lot of the other places you can find content on the web is that we do have a brand. we do have a history. people have to be able to trust
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the facts are right. whether it is with stephen glass or a couple of other episodes, there have been lapses at the new republic historically. as a result, people are being even more on their toes to ensure that that does not happen anymore. we have a pretty rich -- robust reporter-researcher program. they are fact checking their work. several times through. it is important because of the history. it is also important for us as a brand. we have to have people trust us. >> does the stephen glass episode still linger in the rafters? just mindful of something. >> i think people are more
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mindful of the integrity of their journalism. most of the people we hire bring such a sense of integrity anyway, but because of that episode, i think people are more aware. i know it from talking with some folks who were there at the time and also from the film. it was an incredibly -- it was not -- >> you had the bad luck of it turning into a good movie. journalism ethics now, by the way. >> do you have any plans for europe? thank you. >> international coverage is really interesting. we are trying, every single print issue of the magazine and
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a couple times per week, to always have international content be in the mix. we have been reported pieces from venezuela, or somebody embedded in afghanistan. it is really important. the question for us from a business standpoint is the economics. more often than not, it works best for us to work with freelance reporters who are contributing for us. we can get the content, the ideas in the magazine. but we do not have a bureau in kabul or something like that. the international stories are key to having a great magazine in the future.
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>> are you going to make it weekly? >> we do not have any plans to. historically a weekly. previous ownership brought it down to a biweekly. i was a little cynical of the format.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp 2013]
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>> i am wondering if there is any organization out there using different models for measure urement. >> i think that -- it's not that i don't think uniques are important, i just think we place way too much emphasis on them. the amount spent on a site or reading a piece is really important. we use a few different an litics -- analytics tools which enables us to see not only what people are reading, but we can see how many people are reading a piece at any given moment in time. you can also see how far down an article they get, which is really, really interesting. because sometimes you will have
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a great headline that gets a lot of people, and you think, wow. who would have thought that many people would be interested in that topic. but then you see 70% of people grop drop off. then you see pieces -- you know, walter kearns just wrote a wonderful first-person essay. he's a gun owner. he carries guns in his car. he talk bd how he's had to pull them on people. he tries to explain why so many gun owners feel so strongly about their weapons and their rights. anyway, the number of people that read really deep into that piece on the web was, you know, well over 70%. which is not a number that you would ever know, because normally you ask, what were the uniques on the article. it is not just off site. you can look at comments. although, complents tend to reward controversial content.
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but you could look at social shares on twitter or on facebook. you can also look at retention. how many of them are e-mails. so i think there are a whole bunch of metrics to look at. many people don't have them in their profiles. i think analytics has them as well. 6 >> i'm the former publisher of a nonprofit magazine, also on the board, and i currently consult to nonprofit media start-ups, including another nonprofit magazine called "chop-chop." i also teach a course at the ention extension school or not
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media. >> i should take that one. >> well, at 5:30 tonight. i have one quick comment about facebook. i was a freshman advisor for many years, and about 2005, i thought, we need to get on to facebook. i want to let you know, i was in the first wave of harvard administrators. going back to the business model, two parts. when you talk about expeerention -- experiential situations that you may be able to monetize, are you looking at comm of your competitors that have gotten involved in conferences and events as well as the nation, which is a smaller place, but folk yess on cruises with the editors and things like that? the second part of the question is, along those experiential things, what do you per seeve as your competition?
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is it the nation? is it the atlantic? i hear a broader set of competitive voices. anyway. >> the questions of experiences, access to comment to me is like clicking on a link to read a piece. experience is any time when you choose what you are going to spend time with a brand or a topic. so that's a pretty broad definition for me. sitting down to read a magazine is an experience. you choose to have that persons rather than saying, more often than not, oh, there's that one article i want today read in "vanity fair" let me flip to page 84 or whatever to read it. the ipad is a great place to understand the difference between the two. we have what we call "web-app experience" in satisfactory. are there links i want to read there? then we have the native app,
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which we consider an expeiential product, because there ss a curated, pageanated experience. it is fascinating for me to see how differently consumers think about these things. i keep going back to some research that we did. when you ask people who read magazines, you would say, we did some polls where we said, how do you read something like "vanity fair"? and some people will say, i love "vanity fair." some people go from the back. but everyone would have an experience. when you say what do you think of their web site, people say, "vanity fair has a web site"? it is a totally different way of thinking about content. one is experiential, and another
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is about accessing certain titles or articles that are there. also in that experience category, and i put audio, i put some of the other topics there. so events are important to us. whether or not they can be the feature of the business is sort of doubtful. i think when we look from a business perspective, one of the core assets we have is a lot of brilliant people, a lot of great reporters who know quite a lot about politics and the arts and culture, and the question is, how do we use that as an asset. it is easy to play for us. it is stuff our readers are interested in, it is stuff our subscribers are interested in. we also have the expertise to pair it up. on the question of competition, i think as competitive -- a competitive set is more through
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the "new yorker," "atlantic," and i think "new york magazine" in some instances. that sort of thought leadership publication, than it is the opinion jurnls. i love "the nation." i think the work they do is very important. but that is much more of the set that "the new republic" used to be in, and i think that is increasingly a more and more challenging category. so the category with the economist and "the new yorker" and "the atlantic" are also doing pretty well from a business perspective, all things considered, is where we are trying to go. >> hi. i'm a freelance religion writer. one thing i noticed is what i call the fault equivalencey. they will put out someone usually from the right based on the fact they are a colorful character or interesting without any information about the
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voracity of their claims, the data site and so forth, and they are presenting an article on you youtube someone saying something inaccurate and unchallenged. i wonder moving forward what your thoughts are on that? >> you have to challenge both sides, yes. and ask questions and how it plays into the -- what i was saying earlier about having assessments in journalism and not just saying, you know, he said this, she said that, but actually saying, this is what they both said, here are some other data points and here is what could actually be the case. for some it would be key issues, but for others -- force >> i have a question where bradley mentioned about connecting people online. clearly today you talked about connecting people online in meaningful ways. i am curious if in your work on facebook you thought about
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connecting creative minded kids like myself. there isn't really a platform for me to find a musician, or a programmer to find a graphic designer. what do you think about these kinds of kecks and collaborations? >> i think it is interesting that facebook historic wli has not tried to serve that role. facebook was much more about connecting with the people that you know and who are your existing friends and family, not about finding other people. but, you know, this is me just watching now someone who is sort of unaffiliated with the company. but what they have done with open grass search just in the past few weeks, facebook significantly expanded their functionality to make it sensitive to human language and it makes it very interesting. it makes it possible to find exactly what you are talking about. if you are a composer and you need a vio lifment nist at harvard, you can now search for
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violinist at harvard, and if you are friends of friends of them, you can more often than not contact them and say, i need this connection. i think this is an area of the web that is unexplored. because there are some complex human and psychological issues underneath. but if anyone can solve it, i think open graphic is probably a step in that distraction direction. -- a step in that direction. >> what did you think of "the social network"? >> it was a movie. it was hollywood. you know. i don't know where you guys live here at harvard, but it made me look like that's what our dorms looked like. it was like a luxury condominium. and the sex in the bathroom scene, all of that, looked very interesting. [laughter] >> i never saw anything like that. but, no, what i thought was great about the film was that it
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actually -- for all the things it got wrong, what it got right is that we were college students at harvard with an idea and we tried something out and it initially took off. and it took time to build. the hard stuff was not just coming up with the idea, it was building it over time to reach the point that it's at today. i think it played in to that belief that you know, that anybody -- college kids in a dorm room can create something that can change the world. >> transforming a 100-year-old magazine. christian, it is great to have you here. >> thank you. thank you for having me. [applause] >> chris has some people waiting for him and he's not going to be able to wait around to say hello to you-all, but i will apologize
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to you for him on his behalf. >> thank you. >> in a few moments, the bipartisan group and former budget committee chairman on spending and debt reduction. in half an hour, a briefing on how upcoming mandatory federal cuts could affect the defense industry. after that, governor john kitzhaber state of the state address. and after that, medal of honor ceremony at the white house. on the next "washington journal" we'll preview president obama's state of the union address with anita kumar and jonathan strong. the officer for responsive politics will focus on lobbying rules and restrictions that apply to current and former members of congress. and when we resume we will be joined by -- dr. d. fuller
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torrey to discuss mental illness in america. "washington journal." live weekday mornings at 7:00 a.m. >> i can report to you that the state of this old but youthful union is good. >> once again, in keeping with time-honored tradition, i am pleased report that improvement will continue. >> my duty tonight is to report on the state of the union. not the state of our government, but of our american community, and to set forth our responsibilities in the words of our founders to form a more perfect union. the state of the union is
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strong. >> our nation is at war, our economy is in recession, and the civilized world faces unprecedented dangers. yet the state of our union has never been stronger. >> it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward and the state of our june union -- state of our union is strong. >> this year our preview program begins at 8:00 a.m. eastern followed by the g.o.p. response and your reaction. the state of the union tuesday night on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.org. >> now a briefing on debt reduction and the federal government from a bipartisan group of former u.s. senate and house committee chairman and other members. the committee for a responsible federal budget hosted this half-hour event.
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>> good afternoon. i am pleased to introduce our congressional leadership council which is a tremendous group of former members of congress who have joined a campaign to fix the debt. to make the case, as i think no one else can, because they have all been there and done that, and experienced what it is like to be a policymaker on capitol hill trying to do -- make things happen in a partisan environment. but they are trying to make the case why the fiscal challenges are pressing and why it is important to come up with a comprehensive plan to address them. the campaign to fix the debt is an organization that has been
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around for not very long but has amassed a tremendous group of support from citizens across the country where we have over $350,000 citizens who have joined the campaign. we have a presence in 50 states, active organizations, and 23 states and growing. partnerships with 2,500 plus small businesses. many organizations including health care organizations, women's organizations, veteran's organizations. all coming together in the way that the country has to to explain why making tough choices and putting in place the policies that were required to get ahold of our fiscal challenges is so important for the health of the economy, businesses, and families across the country. i am proud proud to be joivendpod today by this tremendous group of former members of congress. i am going to turn it over to one of our three co-chairs, the other being governor ed rendell
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and mayor michael bloomberg. but we have with us senator judd gregg talking about the people representing this new council. thank you very much. >> it is very important that we get our debt under control. there is a andy murray going on, especially in washington, that maybe the debt is not that important anymore, that maybe we have gone far enough by doing the budget control act and by doing the fiscal cliff. that is clearly not true. anyone who actually subscribes to that probably also believes that the red sox wob the -- won
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the world searies last year. the fact is debt is going up to a disproportionate rate of what we can afford to pay. if we don't get it under control fairly soon and have congress and the president lead us in this area, then we will end up with a nation which is insolvent, and that's not fair to our children. it is a great pleasure to participate with this very strong group here today. it is especially my pleasure to turn the rostrum over to my former chairman and a person who understands this issue as well as anyone in public service today, and that is ken conrad. >> thank you, senator gregg. you know, judd and i didn't agree on everything when we were ranking members of the budget committee. we were actually joined at the hip.
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our view is the same view as the chairman of the federal reserve, that is the view of the head of the congressional budget office, that is the view of virtually every serious objective economist who has looked at the long-term trajectory of our fiscal circumstance. now, to be credible, i think we have to acknowledge some progress has been made. in 2009, the deficit as a share of g.d.p. was 10%. this year it is going to be just north of 5%. we've gone from borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that we spend to this year we're going to be borrowing 24 cents of every dollar that we spend. what is most striking is not the near-term circumstance, and by that i mean the next couple of years k what is most striking in the congressional budget analysis most recent congressional budget office most recent analysis is where we are
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headed in the end of this 10-year window and beyond. this chart that was done by a committee for a responsible government took an analysis of what would have happened if nothing had been done so far? if we would not have had the budget control act, if we would not have had sequester, if we would not have had the fiscal cliff legislation that introduced about $600 billion of revenue. that's its green line. that's the trajectory we'd be on if nothing had been done. the blue line represents all the actions that have been taken so far. that represents the budget control act, the sequester, and the revenue that was done just before the end of the year. as you can see, that still has us on an upward trajectory with the debt at the end of this decade. what this doesn't show is what is going to happen right beyond
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the 10-year window when the debt is going to take off like a scalded cat. so if anybody thinks ghs scu2 >> it was a bad thing, because first of all, it is too high. second of all, as you can see, the trajectory is going up at
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the end of the decades, not leveling off, not going down. more seriously, probably the best study that's been done, rogoff and reinhardt did an analysis of 200 years of economic recovery. what they conclude sd when you have a gross debt of more than 90% of your g.d.p., and remember our gross debt is going to be over 107%, when you have a gross debt, their study concluded, your future economic prospects are reduced. your future economic growth is limited. and quite sharply so. so this matters to the economic future of america. and let's remember, medicare is going to be insolvent in 11 years. social security is going to be insolvent in 20 years. that means you will be able to pay 75% of the claims on social security, otherwise you will have to have a 25% cut across the board. so anybody that says to you, we
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don't have to worry, we don't have to do more, i don't think is really giving it straight. my own conclusion is, we've got to reform the entitlements. we have to get them under control. we have to reform the tax system, because we need additional revenue in order to get this death debt headed in the right direction. nationals what this is all about. that's what we're urging the president to do in his state of the union to bring leadership to this issue, to remind people, yes, economic growth is the number one agenda a.m. item, but part of that long-term is that we get our fiscal affairs in order. that's critically important to economic growth long-term and the congressional budget office affirms that in their most recent report. >> thank you, senator conrad. i am senator lincoln, and i am glad to be with this great group
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of former members for all the great things they have done. and i am here today to say that possibly the most dangerous thing coming out of washington today is uncertainty. and the uncertainty that unfortunately causes folks across this country to worry about jobs, to worry about social security, to worry about medicare, whether these programs will be there in the future. i think one of the things you have here with the congressional leadership council, is that we represent diverse districts. we represent diverse districts and states across this great nation. we have maintained diverse political bleaches. i have watched senator gregg and senator conrad at it at times, but th they did always come to some place where they could find some common ground. you see the diversity right here today in terms of our
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background. it happened to be -- i happen to be the token mom here today. we have got others. we come today together because we feel the critical nature of what this nation is experiencing. in terms of the uncertainty and the steps that need to be taken. we all know that the debt problem, it is not something that's going to be solved overnight. we know it is going to take steps. but if we don't look at the kind of trajectory we're seeing here and where we want to go, we won't be able to take the necessary steps today or tomorrow to be able to get to where we need to be. we are here today to urge congress and the president to pass the budget deal that is large enough to put the debt on that downward trajectory. we know that it is going to have to -- anything that is going to actually do what we want it to do is going to have to have the
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major components driving our current imbalance. it will have to have discretionary spending, entitlement, revenues, all of those things looked at and on the table. i have to say without a doubt, when we look at what we have to do, it's not an easy task. i know my husband steve and i, we are looking at what it is to be fisscally responsible in our own household and in our own family. what do we think of first? we think of our children. we think of our aging parents. we think of the things that are important in the road ahead of us, and what we have to deal with. these are the things we need to bring to the table. they need to be thoughtful. we have to begin to take the steps that are going to look at the long-term in terms of where we want to go and what we want to do. i think it is important that all of us, we look across this great land of ours, we see mills -- millions and millions of family trying to find their way out of
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debt themselves. we have to stand up tall. those of us former members want to stand up tall and work it and bring all of that to the table. i am proud to be here with this group here and i am excited about being able to come together with lots of good ideas. but without a doubt, as senator gregg mentioned, we cannot allow the conversation to continue that this problem is fixed or that we're even close to it. there are many, many more steps that have to be taken. we want to make sure we are together working with others here in washington to make that happen. i'm going to turn it over to congressman latourette from ohio. >> thank you, senator. i think senator conrad and i are sort of the freshest faces to sort of spiral out of the house and senate retiring at the end of the 112th congress. i have to tell you, retirement is pretty good. i don't have to eat food on a toothpick and i can sit down
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with silverware, so i am pretty excited about retirement. i am part of something called "go big or go home" when i was in the house, and it is a natural -- since we didn't go big, i went home. that was pretty sad. if you look at the opportunity that was lost during the fiscal cliff discussion, there are moments of history when the stars should align and people of good will and leadership can actually accomplish the big deal that needs to be accomplished that you notice from senator conrad's chart. and instead, as maya has indicated, the tendency is to do small ball. and the most shop-worn phrase of 2012 is "kick the can down the road" but when you sequester for a couple months, delay this or that for a couple months, when you institute a tax increase that only raises about $66 bit
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-- billion a year, which is coincidentally the same amount of money that went out the door for hurricane sandy, you have lost a great opportunity to deal with it. the great thing about washington is that that opportunity has risen again. it will occur not on the debt discussion but on the sequestration discussion. it takes care of the minimum tax, takes care of the dr. fixing s.g.r., takes care of the other cats and dogs that are out there, can you not have the major disruptions of sequestration but get to where everybody agrees they want to be. we do sadly have debt deniers in both parties and in both houses of congress. these debt deniers would let you believe, pick one that we don't need to raise revenues or that we don't have a spending problem. both are patently incorrect. so form is the state of the
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union address, and so the president has an opportunity as we go into the sequestration problem to use the office of the president of the united states that only the president can use. this group is very much hoping that president obama as he takes to the well of the house does talk about the desire to work together for a true balanced approach, not a balanced approach that really isn't balanced, and that he be met halfway by john boehner and the house republicans in fashioning a deal that truly saves the country. it is my pleasure to call up the committee party chairman. i did serve with him. jim nussle. >> thank you, steve. hopefully not in the history books just yet. i am jim nussle from iowa. i am a former o.m.b. director.
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it was my job to hold judd and kent's coats while they were fighting. actually, that's not true. i learned a lot from watching them work together, and all of us, and the people on this stage, all had a hand in working the process to a successful conclusion many times while we served in congress. so one of the reasons why we put this organization together, i'm on the fix the debt steering committee and the committee for a responsible budget and we thought it would be important to tap the resource of people that have been there, done that, have a number of t-shirts to their credit of actually having accomplished deficit reduction, tax reform, actually passing a budget. things like that which these days seems to be foreign concepts to our former colleagues and friends in the united states congress let alone in the white house. so what we wanted to do is just come together and have a
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conversation. maybe we have something to offer as former leaders. maybe we have something that we can contribute to our friends back there as far as ideas, as concepts, reform proposals. ways to move in order, and for that matter, just an introduction or two. some of these folks, as we can tell you, don't even know each other. half the congress -- actually, i think 60% of the house of representatives was just elected within the last two years. these are people that don't know each other in the house. many in the senate are just getting to know one another. so maybe an introduction, maybe a concept or two, maybe an idea, those are ways that we hope that we can contribute. now, fix the debt has many councils. we have a c.e.o. council that are members from it some of our biggest and most popular corporations that you have heard
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of that are very well known. we have 350,000 now active individual members of fix the debt that are just people that have signed up that want to help. they want to be part of this. just in our short period of time, that is quite successful. we have 2,500 small business people who have signed up who want to be part of the solution of fixing the debt. and we have now 83 members of this council, former members of the fiscal responsibility council, and growing. every day we add members to that organization of folks that want to help work on the solution. and while we're all "formers," has-beens, i guess you could say, while we are all formers, we are current moms and dads when it comes to our kids' futures and what kind of future that will be if in fact the
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security challenge of our lifetime, this debt, comes to bear in the kind of negative way that we all know it could. we are former members of congress, but we are current husbands and wives, people who are concerned about our own retirement or maybe owning a home or making sure that an elderly parent is taken care of. and while we're former a lot of things, we're current small business people and we're current citizens. we're current citizens who do not want to be democratic bystanders on the road to our country's ruin. we want to get in the game. we know that leadership requires not just the person in the arena, but the people behind them who provide the back bone, the spine, the -- sometimes the momentum, and the accountability for solving any problem in our country. so we are not willing to just be a bystander to this process. while we used to have fancy titles, we decided to come together and be part of a
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solution, if we can, and giving ideas, providing a little bit of back bone and momentum to this process moving forward. these folks have laid out some of the details of the challenges. we know it is not easy. if it was easy, maybe we would have done it before we left. it is not easy, we know that. we do know that unless the process starts, well it will never conclude. what is missing is the conversation in the halls of congress and the coming together of all members. not just a couple that go into a small room and try to work out an agreement, but every single member in the house, no matter how long they have been there or no matter how new they are to the process, have something to contribute. we all can attest to that. by joining together, we hope we can provide something that
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people like ourselves can do it on the outside and hopefully they can do it on the inside. with that, let me thank all of our colleagues for being here today, and let me turn it back to maya mcginnis for a few questions from the media. >> thank you very much, tom. i just want to echo what you said. formers, yes. has-beens, absolutely not. i look at the stage and think of how much wisdom there is in terms of trying to get this kind of a deal done. no one is saying it is easy. we know it is important to get a debt deal done, but it is not always easy to explain why. if you think about it, the debt has become a kind of stand in the wheels. we can't as a country move forward on any of the important things we need to do to get our country to grow and get security to families across the country. it is not just putting in place a debt deal, it is putting in place the right debt deal. you have so much wisdom here about how it is important to get enough savings but put in the
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right amount of time. put it in thoughtfully and gradually. how it is important to get the right savings, the kinds of things that will derail growth and not hamper long-term investments or the way our tax system works. so there are a lot of ideas here. i think what we all are hoping for, waiting for, and need is real political leadership. what we are bk is a campaign that in no way can replace policymakers that have to be the ones to make the tough choices, but a support system that is so diverse and broad of people who understand why it is important we get this done. again, i want to thank all these members for stepping up and getting this done. and we have time for a question or two on our end. >> >> what specifically do you
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think the president will say? >> i would hope the president lays out the case as to number one, what is on the agenda for economic growth. beyond that, i hope he would lay out why dealing with the long-term debt challenge is critically important to long-term growth. i don't know if you looked at the most recent c.b.o. study that looked at three different scenarios. if you add $2 trillion, if you were to reduce it by $4 trillion. it is interesting if you look at their conclusions. in the short term, i think you have to acknowledge, again if we are going to be credible, if you cut too sharply too quickly, that has an adverse effect on economic growth. we saw that in the fourth quarter. negative economic growth. but the thing we have to keep our eye on, is if you don't --
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if you don't reform entitlements, debt explodes on you and that hurts growth in future years. so economic growth is directly linked to what we do about deficits and debt. a short-term circumstance, medium term, longer term. what this chart shows is we have already done 2.6 trillion, $2.5 trillion. that is in the budget control act, the sequester, the revenue piece that was put in. but what is needed to get you on a track to the debt going on at the end of this budget window is about another $2.4 trillion. we might all have a different mix on how we would do that. i think we have been light on the reforming of entitlement side in terms of the spending. that is the 800-pound guerilla.
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the thing that really threatens to swamp the boat is the health care accounts. and we've got to take it on. i gave a speech on the floor of the senate, my last day, and talked about if you took what the speaker was talking about in terms of spending reductions, he was talking about $500 billion in the health care. but nobody puts it in perspective. that's $500 billion out of $11 trillion. that's 4.5%. we can't do 4.5%? of course we can do 4.5%. those who say the speaker is making an impossible demand on the spending sise side, really? we can't do 4.5% in health care cuts over the next 10 years? of course we can. the same is true on the revenue side. the president wanted an initial $1.6 trillion, but what is the base that applies to? $37 trillion.
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so he was asking for 4% more revenue. we can't do 4% more revenue? of course we can. and if you took the speaker's spending plans and the president's revenue plans and put them together, you would have an overall plan that would really get us on that downward slope on that red line that you see there that was provided for in the committee for responsible budget. >> i think the president might want to open the door, this cannot be done by one side. these big issues, such as medicare, social security, tax reform require the american people to buy in. the american people only buy in if they think the answers are fair. fairness under our system of government requires bipartisanship. i would hope he opens the door to participation from both sides of aisle in a very aggressive way in trying to move toward a solution. and the opportunity is going to
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sit there with the quester to do something significant to replace the sequester with something significant, and i think he's got a great chance to say, ok, let's sit down and figure out how we do this together. >> senator conrad, i was trying to do some math in my head while you were talking there, and it sounded like you were saying, we need to go toward $5 trillion in debt and deficit reduction, which is certainly over the $4 trillion plan that president obama was touting in his address over the weekend. i guess, what's the target number here? what do we actually need to hit to start seeing this level off? >> you know, the goal posts have moved somewhat. when we were doing simpson, the general thinking was, you needed $4 trillion. but a lot of things have happened since then.
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we have also had other changes that were made in terms of the underlying estimates in the face of the economy and what kind of expenditures it is throwing up and what kind of expenditures it is experiencing. now, the numbers that committee for responsible budget came up with is to get us on a path that is declining in terms of debt as a share of our gross domestic product requires a package of about $5 trillion in total. we have done roughly $2.65, and that does not count the continuing resolution from 2011 that one could argue could be counted as well. that's another $500 billion. but if you look at c.b.o.'s most recent numbers, to get this debt
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actually going down as a share of our economy, we're still having a debt at the end of the period, a publicly held debt of 70% of g.d.p. that's 100% of g.d.p. as a gross debt. so the do thed line is what wo les-simpson would have done. >> simpson-bowles came out four years ago and set it saved $4 trillion. what also has happened is the passage of time. it has added on more savings and what used to be $4 trillion now would be equivalent to above $6 trillion. you look at any of these programs that so clearly need to
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be fixed and reformed, it is two years lost of not fixing our tax code so that we are more competitive and raising revenues in a smarter way. it is four years lost of not changing social security in a gradual way so people know what is happening. also weakening costs have been a result to also not strengthening the economy which we believe will help have a real recovery take off. the urgency is real. the support network is broad. i hope you feel free to come up and ask any individual questions to this tremendous group of talented individuals we have with us today. thank you so ever for joining us today to discuss fixing the debt. >> more now on pending federal budget cuts known as
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sequesration. health and education groups outline their concerns in a 45-minute briefing.
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>> welcome, and good morning, everyone. i am emily holubowich, executive director of the coalition for health funding and ndd united. our programs are functions provided for the benefit of all, including public health and safety, law enforcement, education and job training, veterans' services, medical and scientific research, weather monitoring and environmental protection, natural resources, housing and social services, and transportation and infrastructure. ndd united is pleased to join with the aerospace industries association in this effort to stop sequestration and find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to discretionary programs. both defense and non-defense
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programs are equally critical to economic growth and the safety and security of our nation. these discretionary programs are not the reason for our growing debt, and so far they have been the only place lawmakers have been willing to cut, by $1.5 trillion to date. non-defense programs alone have been cut by $900 billion, bringing spending on his programs to levels not seen since eisenhower was president. as we saw from the white house memo on friday, and as you hear from our panel today, cuts in discretionary programs alone not only will not balance the budget, they will cripple our ability to grow our economy, and provide an apartment where all americans have the opportunity to live healthy, safe, and productive lives. that is what brings us together here today, because sequestration is about more than numbers on the ledger. they are real people behind these numbers. these cuts have consequences, and every american will pay the price. with your food inspectors, which will be more susceptible to food-borne illnesses, greater risk of disease outbreaks, with fewer air-traffic controllers, flights will be curtailed, classroom size will increase as teachers are laid off, national parks will close, and we will be less safe with fewer police on the street and we will wait longer to care for debilitating diseases like cancer and alzheimer's.
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today ndd united is sending to the white house a letter signed by federal, state and local organizations, including those represented here today, to stop the political brinksmanship, to stop cutting for cutting's sake, and to start working for together on a balanced, meaningful solution to our nation's debt. i would like to invite our panel to share more details about the devastating impact of sequestration on defense and non-defense programs. we will take questions at the end of the presentation. and full bios for our speakers are in your press packet. we will begin with marion blakey, president and ceo of the aerospace industries association. i personally want to thank marion for the association's support of ndd united and her leadership in bringing defense and non-defense groups gathered for the first time under one big tent. marion?
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>> thank you, emily, and i cannot tell you how pleased we are to be here to be talking about such an important topic. i'm marion blakey, president and ceo of the aerospace industries association, and we are proud to represent the 1 million highly skilled and dedicated professionals who make up the aerospace and defense work force. let me get right to it by making a few comments about this crisis we're facing. sequestration is a poison pill designed to force the hard, but necessary decisions the work of governing, compromise and negotiation, to reduce our deficits and our debt. the poison pill now threatens to have a toxic effect on our entire economy and on our national security. we have been seeing the flashing
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warning signs, flashing code blue, massive indiscriminate cuts to defense and other important functions of government truly do threaten our security, undermine our ability to stay ahead in the global innovation race, and will tank our fragile economy. we have been saying this for months, and the latest with a call was just the other day, when we learned that our gdp is for the first time in four years going into negative territory. that is a serious wake-up call. the ongoing defense downturn has real-world consequences right now, both for reducing our military might and our economic potential. and we have pointed out that other government functions are affected as well, for example,
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faa's operation of the national airspace system, nasa's space exploration program, and noaa's work on necessary new satellites. these are weather satellite programs. these are sequestration's negative impacts. the diverse group of leaders here with us today is going to be attesting to this. regarding the overall economy, about six months ago we released a study conducted by dr. stephen fuller of george mason university. the study's methodology is sound and its conclusions are grim. the study says, see quest racial -- sequestration, if it goes forward, will put 2.1 million u.s. jobs at risk.
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these are defense and non-defense-related jobs, and include nearly 1 million small businesses. it will cost the unemployment rate to rise about 1.5%, and reduce expected gdp growth by $215 billion. $215 billion. the latest congressional budget office forecast reinforces the conclusion, that sequestration will undermine economic growth. today we are re-releasing dr. fuller's study and his analysis of the impact of impact of sequestration. let it be noted no one can say that they were not forewarned about the full consequences of this very bad policy. this morning, to emphasize the urgency of the situation, we will be delivering to literally every member of congress and the
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white house a letter signed by nearly 140 of our ceo's, in addition to the letter that ndd is doing. these are the ceo's of aerospace companies and we are urging congress and the president to work now on a balanced, bipartisan solution to sequestration. the letter states, "as currently planned sequestration will have a serious negative impact on the economy, national security, and federal agencies. in the current fiscal environment, we understand that defense spending must be part of any conversation about federal budget priorities. however, allowing sequestration to occur is neither responsible nor is it strategic." the letter confirms our conviction that congress and the white house can work together to make certain that any cure to
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our debt and deficit problems is not worse than the malady that we are trying to fix. we are realistic enough to know that our voice alone will not end it this debate, and it will not decide it. but as evidenced by this unprecedented gathering of disparate groups, i am gratified our course of voices is gathering strength. i am confident that together we can win this battle. now, let me ask wes bush, the chairman of aerospace industries association and the chairman, ceo, and president of northrop grumman corporation, to make a few remarks. wes? >> thank you. this is a decision that our political leadership needs to make, and the timeline is rapidly approaching for the conclusion of that decision. i thought it would be helpful to frame the decision in the
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context of the broader u.s. economic model. our economic model in the united states works best when we have all of the pieces of that model working together, and the premise of our model is that there are certain roles that are best performed by companies, such as ours, there are certain roles best performed by government, there are certain roles, critical roles played by other enterprises in our society, such as educational institutions and nonprofit organizations, and many other enterprises. central to that model, central to the functioning of our economy is investment by the federal government in some key areas, such as providing for our national security, supporting education, and supporting research that fuels the innovation that our economy needs for our long-term growth, supporting and providing for the public safety and for public health.
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there are many roles, and we could enumerate them all. these are all critical functions of government. the funding for these core functions of our federal government is provided by the discretionary component of the federal budget. and while total federal spending represents about 23% of our gross domestic product, discretionary component of spending is only about 8% of gdp. there are many components of federal spending, entitlements, representing 14% of gdp, and interest payments on the debt, which are about 1.4%. if we look at discretionary spending as a percent of the gdp over time, and i will draw your attention to the chart to peter's right, we already are on a track to be at the lowest point of discretionary spending in relation to our national economy in 50 years. this drastic change is happening already without sequestration, and let me emphasize that.
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this chart shows what is happening to discretionary spending without sequestration. already, we are slowly backing away from the long-term investments in our security, our research, our education, our infrastructure, our public health, our public safety, and many other core functions of government. that level of decline cannot be sustained if america is to be a global leader for the long term.
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that is what we're here to get it this morning, to really make sure there is clarity around the decision on sequestration. trying to solve our country's very serious fiscal challenges -- and we all know they are very serious challenges -- but trying to solve those issues on the back of the discretionary budget is the wrong answer for america. we need our congress and the administration to work together to create a balanced approach to reducing our long-term debt. will the discretionary budget play a role in that solution? it will, but allowing the sequester to occur is absolutely the wrong way to go about this. it would produce severe economic consequences for in both the near term and a long term. the loss of jobs is our country, as our country struggles to recover from a recession, would be a real setback for our economy, the loss to small businesses across america, not only of employment and economic contributions, but also their
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innovation and their growth potential. the impact, the very real impact on university research and student aid would haunt us for many years. and the impacts on our public health and safety are simply unacceptable. we have come together to help illuminate how serious the sequester would be across our country, and we are here to call for action. we are here to call for political leadership to come together to act to stop sequestration and to come up with a solution that will continue to help america grow for many years. thank you. >> thank you so much, wes and marion. i would now like to introduce our next speakers from the task force for american innovation, and also important partners in ndd united. they will share about the impact of non-defense discretionary cuts on education and scientific innovation. we will hear from peter mcpherson from the association of public and land grant
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university, and then we will hear from hunter rawlings, the president of the association of american universities. peter? >> thank you, and good morning. i am president of the aplu which has approximately 200 research universities around the country. i have served as the deputy secretary of the treasury, working at some of these issues we're talking about today. i am delighted we're here with my colleagues, and hunter rawlings and i are representing the task force on american innovation, which is a broad coalition of industry, academy, and scientific societies. we are not always on the same stage, not usually fighting, but frankly not united in the way that we have been around this issue. we all seek the urgent need and problem that we have before us.
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sequestration is a reckless and a blunt tool that would force deep spending reductions across critical investments in r&d and education. i'm here to say that sequestration would greatly reduce and harm our nation by slashing its innovation capacity. research has been a primary driver of u.s. economies for generations. basic research has been the wellspring for innovation and applied research. producing much of our modern society, including internet, gps, large-scale integrated circuits, and so much more. the federal government funds 60% of the basic research, much of it -- 2/3 -- going to universities. without that basic research -- industry colleagues i know would
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depend so heavily upon it. sequestration cuts about $10 billion of cuts in r&d in 2013. going through 2020, the full sequestration would cut r&d by $90 billion. and reduce g.d.p. growth, depending upon your study, $330 billion says the study that was just completed by techology innovation foundation. these figures are a little apart depending upon the study, but they are all pretty dramatic. moreover, the same report i mentioned, talks about 200 fewer jobs in just a four-year period. again, the studies' figure can vary, but they are dramatic. even if we do not invest enough in research, some other countries will. china is not the only example, and it is rapidly increasing its research as a percent of
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gdp. for us this will go the other way. china's gdp is smaller than the united states', but its economy is growing much faster, and by some calculations their total exports to imports equal to what ours are today. unless we act, we can expect that china's increase in research funding and funding of others will mean that the relative competitiveness of the u.s. will weaken, probably in ways that go to our historical core strengths. sequestration is unnecessary, and it is avoidable. we absolutely must deal with the
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budget deficit. but this massive indiscriminate-type approach is counterproductive. such cuts will dampen growth and thereby reduce tax revenue. such cuts definitely are not dealing with the deficit over a long term. with less than three weeks away from having these massive cuts, i'm here to join others in urging that president obama, congressional leaders come together for the sake of america's people and end this sequestration. together, we before you are united in our efforts to ensure that america maintains its place in innovation and research. thank you all for being here. >> good morning, everyone. i am hunter rawlings,
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representing the aau. as peter said, he and i are representing the task force on american innovation, and you have a letter in your packet from the task force that i hope you will take a good look at. the sequester is the most unpopular thing in washington, d.c., since the dallas cowboys. it is mindless and will cause great harm . the president hates it. speaker boehner hates it. majority leader harry reid hates it. 13 majority leader harry reid hates it. they created it. imagine how the rest of us feel about it. somehow our leaders cannot seem to figure a way out of it. we all agree the country needs to find a more sustainable fiscal path. in my view, we need a balanced approach, as wes said, that
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includes both spending and revenues. cuts in spending should focus on programs a growing the most, not on discretionary spending, which is not growing, is not the problem, and yet has already borne the brunt of cuts. the discretionary spending is a part of the budget where america's future lies, including such investment as research and education. cutting invesart ent in our fute is not the way to solve this problem. yet that is exactly what the sequester will do. there is a better way. we have talked about the impact of the sequester on an economy that is still recovering. i want to focus on the longer term, the economy and the nation that we will leave to our children, our grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
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the research being cut with the sequester affects long-term health, quality of life, and economic and national security of our coming generations. it is how we figure out clean forms of energy, make medical advances that save lives, and ultimately reduce the cost of health care, develop the technologies that defend our country, and make our fighting men and women safer and advance our economy. loore than half, more than half of economic growth in this country since wor the e war ii s resulted from technological advances, none of which would have been impossible or almost none of which would have been possible without the basic research funded by the federal government. sometimes this sounds very theoretical, but we live in it every day. let me hold up for you this morning this fetching little i6 c13 one. cannot get along without this thing. rt eou all have one in your pocket. or perhaps you're looking at it right now and not listening to me. which is pretty standard for us professors, so it is not surprising. this device that you have is in your pocket, and i have in min ad
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would not exist were it not for federally funded research. let me show you why. the gps that enables your device to guide you to your destination wou the e not exist without the federally funded research that produced the atomic clo with. apple made this thing, and they did a great job, but without the atoffec clock, it thises not work. the touch screen, an amazing thing, even i, a classics professor, can use it, came directly from research funded by the national science foundation. we do not think about that. the liquid crystal display, or lcd monitor, used on these phones came from research funded by nih, the national institutes for health.
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the rechargeable lithium ion moatteries that t tn these pho came from basic research by the department of energy, and the integrated circuit, which is found in practically all electroitoc eqhyoloent, benefit from federally funded research, as well as from industry. this device that we all cannot get along without a came to a great extent from federally funded research. these things cannot keep coffen if we this not invest in basic research. that is why it has strong bipae pisan suppoe p in congress and why president obama is such a strong advocate for it. but the reality of the federal budget is the discretionary spending from which we find this research is getting squeezed tighter and tighter. hicow the seqway tss non-defense discretionary
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spending by 5% this year alone, which is really 9%, given where we are in the year. the omb says this would force the national science foundation to issue nearly 1,000 fewer research grants, curtailing the work of an estimated 12,000 scientists and engineers. it wou the e reqhyre nor, to me hundreds fewer research awarl finally, in addition to research, as wes and peter have mentioned, the seqway tster woue ¤ c13 urt students with cuts in student financial aid. it would cut wob, son tffen and other financet l aid programs. why would we penalize young americans wob,ing their way through college? what kind of message thises that send? it is not a message of opportunity. the seqway tster instead is stu, it is shortsighted, and it should not happen. we urge the president and congress to stop the sequester and address our fiscal
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challenges in a balancescr sensible way. thank you. >> thank you so muc us peter an 12nter. now i would like to open it up for qway tstions from the audience. if you could say your name and affiliation. i believe we have a ffeed t shhone. we are being recorded, so it wou the e be helpful m f he coud speak into the microphone. >> hello. mr. rawlins said he fa prrs a moalanced pa withag ad including revenues. i am wondering if you agree with that or if some of you think that that revenue should not be incladded. >> i can speand industries association and, i think all, of our member compaitoes.
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we have long called for a balanced approach to solve our hication's fiscal i we know you cannot just pulled one lever. rt eou have to reach and pull al of the levers available to our hication to deal wi unfoe punately, what we have sen to date has been primarily, if rt eou can see on the chart oveo the right, pulling a lever on the discretionary budgets. we think this has to be much more balanced, so, yes, everything has to be on the table to make sure we make a good decision about the future of our country. >> i think all of us believe, and hunter and i have been on record on this, that there neel to be a balanced approach on the moig dea that and that is reay what we hng ce to do the work, through the regulatory budget process we wou the e h she congs would do in the months ahead. the strffen gle we hng ce got rt
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hicow is how do we h sequester right now. and that is a lot more complicated, and we have not really gotten the details on how to this that. what we thishicnow is this is counterproductive for the longer consideration for the country, including the deficit, to have sequester go forward. >> i wou the e ait am not an economist, but i read what a lot of economists write, and all of them say, from simpson-bowles to rivlining sominici, we need a moalanced approach, spending cs and revenue. i can tell you riarit now what e ¤ c13 ng ce seen is an unbalanced approach. we hng ce had $2.50 cut for eve thisllar of revenue.
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>> again, this is a long-term goal. we hng ce got to figure out howo deal with the whole picture over the next fe reamonths. >> what has been the reaction from house republicans who are against mand of it? are they listening to what you are saying? >> yes, i think that one of the things we have to understand ¤ c13 ere is that to hng ce the kind f compromise that has a lasting effect, it has to be bipartisadn and that means we're asking both sides -- and we're sed cng evidence that the sides of the
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aisle are listening without question. we at ro are pointing out that the area that really has not been considered so , sr seriou63 ey is the question of entitlements spending, and entitlements spending, as everyone understandth fundamental part of how you solve this equatiotun and certainly, both sides, but it is important for others on the hill beyond the house republicans to listen to that as well. there are several , scer solution. >> i think this very line of qas it respond to questions reflect some of the proate,em we have g here. we have got to deal with this y. ad because it is going to be harmful to the
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country not to deal with it. mout at the same ty. ad we have got these big issues, the big deal, m f you wilal p in mypoiiew, much of this discussion has got to occur in the biging seal contd $t. i love the dallas cowboys thing. everybody hates them here. hicow they need to 3 eate that into immediate action. >t fother questions? >> hi. i'm lori shar from media update. ho readid all of these groups ce together under this big tent? >> it is interesting, it is a you cnction of the environment,d it is not that unusual for us to come together. what is often lost in some of the coverage and conversations on the hill, pitting one agai gt the other, when in fact both are critical to our security, safety.
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you cannot have a strong military when you are our technology or when you have recruits that are obese and uneducated. at the same time, you cannot thrive in thes hitoted states if you are facing threats from overseas and you feel insecure. we are really pleased to come together. i think we have also seen that we are going to rise and , sll
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contractor was the last thing in my mind. mout i hng ce learned something quite interesting about wes' business, and it is hea>tly research based. while the work we do is heavily researched based, his work and our work is actri lly quite close. we have many scientisr uitoversities who wofou on the problem that wes is, researchers that wofou on the same pr13 ems. this makes a whole lot of sense, because we're trying to do much of the same thinn h >> i would also add that what you this not see physically represented up here, but is very much a part of this coming together, is an enormous number of organizations who have been doing economic analnow is, lookg at the y. sequestration.
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whether you're talking about cqui, the inpaand isan policy center, the national association of manu, scturerth that has been thisne at the simpson-bowles, but the fact of the ng cethinker is is there is reng cefouable unanimity about e fact that sequestration is terriate,e policy. it will result in a hollow force for our military, and it will foof recession. and those indicators are across the quiard in all this wofou. i would point out that as i say, there's a much broader group that you this not see physically here today, and believe me, they are here withs hs. >> let me add one other comment. it goes back to some of my earlier r6 c13 tardeb. we can together because we recognized we need each other, hicot only to fight, but to make our economy wofou.
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this is ho reaour alsotion functions, when enterprises work togethe, wh from the corporate per hoective. we need the amazing university education and reseaof t we ¤ c13 ng ce to help pr shel our econo, we need employees to get the moenalkit of great rmaate,ic hh and safety provided by law enforcement. all the parr ¤ c13 ng ce to work together for us t continue to grow and thrd osec
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you pralker something done long term? >> continuing tond tick the cans not the wr ec to solve the problem. we will be relieved if there were a th that allowed congress to come together and act in a way that we know it can act. sure, absolutely, we wouldcongr to see congress have the opportunity to resolve this. it needs to get resolved. we cannot keel nd ticking the cn down the road. this process is alreathat f hnga moig iho act across our countrn terms of a willingness on the paand of coalloratio gr to invt and hire, so this is costing our country something tic r ec already. we ftow it is having an impact in terms of confidence in our economy, both thismestically and internationally.
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kicking the can is not free. it has a cost. we cannot keep doing that. if a short-term delay is Ãto becessary to allo reathe yos of government operate as they are designed to this, then ok, need to this thaw we need to be aware that this has to be resohoaed. we do have to come to resolution. >> the point wes makes is an iho ortant pon be lost. this is already having a very large y. this is not something three weeks in the next year. we see federal agencies are holding back research awards. the und oersity of californ6 c13 the her tnow tem is reportip in the research awards to ir , scudiscy as compared withcong year, and support to help business is hoeed ing baass bece of this bigs hncertainty. this is not in the future only. this is noloy it is happening, it is negative. as an esting cete said earlie, e
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but it has the confidence drag that perhon as a multiplier effect. i do think that there are a range of wr ecs to deal with thg and as a group we have not decethined how to deal with it. mout what we hng ce come togetr
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and said let's deal with this noloy her tomewhere, soon, wel with the big issues, and that is everything -- taxes, entitlements, expenditures, the whole set of issues. and we hope that however this happens, we do not get so entangled in the disrmates of this totun, which is a real danger, in my view. all the business of the last f this appears, that nothing hon and that is the danger, isn't it? everybic y hates it, but we cannot cut through the fog or the struggle to pal0%re out how to this iw and what we are saying is, look, we have got to this ipalg and we ¤ c13 she that this is isgmenr motivates, it helps motivate the people that can do it to get it thisne. >> in terms of contemporary economic iho acpalg our compaits arecongrr ecing off now. remember that we are absorbing aalkeeathat f $487 inllion of cuts
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that occurred under the budget control act in 2011. when you see in the pon there are pink slips going out, people lardsing their joardsi, very real, and on top of that, as the department of defense is announcing, it is rmalling baass in terms of our readiness, in terms of the equertment that ha in the fieeed , which are not going forward with maintenance on critical assetof c such as o nuclear aircraft carriers. this was just announced the other day. this is maintenance that is necessary, and yet we cannot go riorward, because of the uncertainties and the overhang of sequestration. and the continuing resolution, which is also another problem that our congress s, ast facsary these are immed6 c13 thete andantery serious drag on the economy that, as was cited, this was going to cost our gdp to go into the negative territory in the last four yearof c which hon in the last quarter.
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>> we have seen 46,000 rmaate,i health professioalsoyea in stat and local communities laid off, and that does not inrec ee the nudo ners that are currently experiencing furloughs. it is almardst a jdeal public health community. it is furlough friday for folnt that work in p6 c13 oliethhealth. and these are the folks who make sure your foic you are eating is safe, pgking critical services in the community, and i thionl kicking the can in washington, if it was an olympic sport, we would win a gold medal. it is a real and we're seeing cuts already back home, and they are plaof sing for sequestration now. i recall a briefing that we did eaboier in the year on the hilo and we had a south dakota, and she said that e tit.t nomaks.
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reservation, four teachers -- one of them, if sequestration happenof c she wxpel have to la off -- fact. picture thaw picture bt thrng a teacher and don't know if in three weeks you are grmalng to hng ce ahe oob o would you buy that house or that car? probaate,y not because you have thats hncertainty. they do not know who it is going to become of thardse for teachers. we're seeing the impact of sequestration aalkeeathat f. that is one story that i have heard many, many more. that level ofs hncertainty is nt a solutiore p so we are urging folks to look as closely as they can to st sh seqas put certainty back into our economy and to paxplheas lives o they can live theroucongrheases make important decisions. we thaonl you for bt thrng heres ¤,oritong. it is a pleasure. thank you, panelisr >> thaonl you.
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>> in a few moments, oregon governor john kitzhd ier. a, ander thapalg a medal of hon ceremony at the white house. after thapalg a dist thssion of ghuralsolism and digital media.
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>> i have quoted the first lady ofte t it was a, ander i mn le the statement about the treatment of women and chieed ren in the talibare p and ri hht after thai was in austin, texas, and we went shopping. and thecongrn lies at the cosme counters in the department store at ame en 4 and saierm thaonl y much for speaking for women in afghaitostan. and that was really the froust time that i thought, hey, they ¤ c13 ea-t msary i thionl iritnew intellectuaeco that the first lady had a podium
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mout i dethinn't reaeconomyy f until a, ander that. >> c-span's new series, "first ln lieof c influence & ipgst . season one begins next monday, president's day, at 9:0rcp.m. on at r,pare p cr,pan rn lio, and c-span.org.
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>> our thanks, especially to those that continue to serve overseas, our thoughts and our prayers. i also want to recognize today some of oregon's finest first responders who were also my guests this morning. like all oregonians, i was shocked and sadened by the tragic town center shootings in december. what we have learned from the horrifying details is if it had not been for the courage and media work of our first responders, the situation could
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have been much, much worse. i want to take this opportunity to recognize the oregon state police superintendent rich evans, state fire marshall, mark wallace, the police department chief ken johnson who is the president of the oregon association of chiefs of police. [applause] >> i have not the words to express my sorrow to the families who lost loved ones and the larger community. so i would ask you to join me in a moment of silence for the victims of violence everywhere and a prayer that somehow we can lift this stain from our land.
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>> thank you. today as we welcome oregon's 77th state of assembly, i am reminded of the rich history of this institution, a history that winds all the way back to shampooing in 1841 and first discussions about a provisional government. in retelling the story our tendency is to highlight certain events and dates and creating a narrative, however incomplete, by oregonians for oregonians. to the establishment of the referendum system at the turn of the 20th century to more recent history of the oft told sorry of -- these have been touchstones that have helped define our state and also the image of ourselves. much that is been said and written about this state's historic landmark legislation.
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i think too little has been written about the legislators behind it. because the real strength of this body and institution is that for over 1220 years -- 120 years, this is -- has been the people's institution. the very first legislative assembly, as you know, was a group of ranchers and shop owners and farmers. in fact, so many farmers that the very timing of our legislative session is influenced by harvest schedules. these legislators did not check your day -- their day jobs at the door. betty roberts was one such pioneer. relying on her own experience to guide her, she worked as a member of the house and senate to advance and champion equal rights for women. as the oregonians spunche neilson wrote in tribute after
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her death, her advocacy for women she targeted everything large and small. the ability to keep one's name. the ability to escape from an abusive marriage. and yes, the right to reproductive choice. another champion was representative paul hanniman who served 13 consecutive terms, 26 years in the house of representatives. it is not possible, i think, to fully understand oregon's bottle bill and the motivation behind it without understanding the story of paul haniman and his constituent richard chambers and the four years they spent tenaciously fighting to get the bottle bill passed. he was a dorey fisherman and he brought that experience to this chamber, and oregon is better for it. three generations of mcphersons have served in this body.
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the giants of this institution, the heroes have been those members who have caucused as democrats and republicans but have legislated as oregonians. ashland and portland was in their bones, but oregon was in their hearts. the 77th legislative assembly has exactly that same potential. you are farmers, ranchers, small business owners, educators, doctors, dentists, and lie brarians. firefighting, serving in the military. it is your experience that will allow us to meet the challenges that affect the state at this particular moment in our history. our state of the state is strong today in large part because of the courage and commitment of its citizen legislators. you defy, i think, the cinism all too common today about a government too divided from its people. yet now more than any other time
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in this state's history, this body leads up to the expectations of its citizens. that is not a guarantee of perfection, but it does guarantee that our body will be more inclstclusive of the diverse needs of all people throughout the state. and we should never under statement the importance of a body to look more and more like the people it represents. when i was a member of the senate i used to draw ins inspiration from john kennedy who wrote where nature makes natural allies of of us all, we can demonstrate beneficial relations are possible, even with those with whom we most deeply degree. over the past two years this body has demonstrated that it is not only possible to disagree agreeably, but to move beyond what divides us and build on what unites us. a shared vision for a middle class. equal opportunity for every
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oregonian in every city, and a good government that is fiscally responsible and efficient. with this vision we have made great strides to benefit oregonians over the past two years. just two years ago, we finished a 3 1/2 budget deficit, double-digit unemployment, and an uncertain future. here in salem we faced a divided legislature making many people say that progress would be impossible. then as it turned out, the legislator was not so divided after all. setting an example for the nation, members of both parties and chambers came together and did not shy away from making the difficult decisions to put oregon's economy on an upward trajectory. we erased one of the largest per capita deficits in the nation withive vilt and not rancor, and we did it with a budget based on priorities not just on programs. reforms in education, health care, and key investments and innovation embody the changes necessary to accelerate oregon's
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economic recovery and restore our shared prosperity. today, compared with where we were two years ago, our state is clearly on the right track. we have gone from a $3.5 billion budget deficit in 2011 to a balanced budget today. we have improved our credit rating from aa to aa-plus. we cut our unemployment rate by over 2%. we have created nearly 40,000 jobs while being home to the second-fastest growing economy in the nation. we have come a long way since january of 2011. we should celebrate our progress because we did it together and because it didn't come easily. we need to recognize, there are far too many oregonians being left behind. we must reach all oregonians and stop the stagnation that
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exacerbates inequality and threatens a falling standard of living. we will not set for an unequal economy. n in fact, i think unequal is where much of brian mooar continues to suffer the economic and social consequences of double-digit unemployment, out-dated infrastructure, and an aging workforce. the word recovery is warped. if we use it at a time when unemployment rates for white oregonians are falling but for african-americans, native americans, and latino oregonians, employment is rising. recovery is not the word to use in a state where there is still a 4% poverty rate. oregon will not be a good place
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for us to live until it is a good place for all of us to live. there can only be a fix with an intentional strategy that is not limited to putting oregonians back to work. it is intent to put per capita income back above the national level. this is the time to ask what will it take to make that happen. how can we ensure more of the jobs in the state are -- how can we get those jobs out into rural oregon. what can we do to put people in oregon on a path to economic prosperity? how can we help the growth of small businesses? how can we bet ear line training programs to better deliver results to more oregonians and better serve the needs for all populations? the oregon business center is built on three pillars.
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first to create 25,000 jobs a year between now and 2020. to raise per capita income back up above the national level by 2020, and reduce poverty by 2020. these three pill ars recognize on the one hand that private-sector job is the requirement for an enduring prosperity. but it must also recognize, if we don't reduce poverty, not every oregonian will have their shot at the american dream. that means that over the next two years, our commitment to these second two pillars must be just as strong as our commitment to the first. far too many oregonians continue to struggle with unemployment many, with debt, and rising health care costs. that's the urgency you bring with you. it is that sense of urgency at the core of the budget i presented to you last month. a budget based and guided by the three principles that have guided us over the last three
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years, putting children, families, and education first, investing in jobs and innovation, and reducing the cost of government. it is also a budget that is built on the assumption that we can't wait for economic recovery. to begin to invest in children and family and education. when i first came to the oregon house of representatives in 1979, kids could drop out of roseburg high school in the 10th and 11th grade and get doo good jobs in the mill or the woods with good bagse wages and benefits. those days are long gone. over the past few years the economic benefits of education continue to grow. in 1979, the average college graduate earned 38% more than the average high school graduate. today the average college graduate earns 75% more. in over 60% of the jobs created over the next decade will require at least a technical certificate or an associates degree. yet only 67% of our students are
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graduating from high school, taking many of them off the path to economic security. i believe it is the promise of opportunity that lies at the heart of the american dream, the promise of upper mobility. the promise you can build for your lives and your kids, that each generation should be better off than the generation before. although we have made huge progress in developing a seamless system for early child hood to education and career, we have not yet had the resources to invest in our goals. it is clear that the entire enterprise is under-funded at all levels. it is combally clear we can't achieve our 40-40 objectives without a significant reinvestment in the classroom. to make that happen, a number of things are necessary. in the long-term, we need comprehensive reform of oregon's public finance system. that's going to take time, it is going to take discipline, and it
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is going to take a very strategic approach. over the last 8 months we begin to rebuild the coalition and put in place the infrastructure to move forward on that important task. we can't wait for comprehensive reform to begin to reinvest in the classroom if we want to continue the objectives we have set for our state. it will not be an easy task, but i believe it is an urgent task. we may have erased our budget deficit, but we continue to face fiscal constraints, which means we need to make room in the current system if we are going to invest in classrooms and public services. i am prepared to stand with you to make a series of difficult decisions to make that happen, including reducing the cost of health care and corrections, reducing the cost drivers that are diverting resources from the classroom, and under-taking a serious review of oregon's tax expenditures. let me start with with health care which is perhaps the fastest growing cost for
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individuals, families, businesses, and for state government. our new health care model, our new care model we are delivering under the coordinated care organizations is projected to hold medicaid constant at 3.4% starting the second year of this biennium. that will save $100 million. almost $200 million in the next bienium. in other words, the created -- creates a huge and growing opportunity for investment going forward. therefore a long-term ability is to serious reinvest in public education depends to some extend to seriously extend this to the priflet market. if, for example, we were to make available to school teachers and public employees the same kind of high quality, low cost delivery model, the projected 10-year savebs savings is $5 billion.
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this could be a game changer and could create an enormous advantage for oregon business large and small. corrections is the second area where cost reductions are needed and possible. along with health care, the relentless growth and the department of corrections is one of the main reasons we can't reinvest in children, families, and education or in community corrections or in proven crime prevention measures at the local level. it costs $10,000 a year to keep a child in school. it costs $30,000 a year to keep someone in prison. now, our prison forecast projects we will have to build an additional 2,300 beds at a cost of $600 million over the next 10 months. most of those beds will be occupied by nonviolent offenders. the fact is, this $600 million is spent on public safety, local public safety, community corrections and public education to keep hundreds of people out of the criminal justice system in the first place. that's why oregonians deserve a
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thoughtful objective review of the recommendations of the commission on public safety. to keep our community safe while we reducing the cost of crux corrections. the opportunity here is to find alternative ways to sanction nonviolent offenders and invest in proven crime prevention offenders instead of building a whole new round of prisons. i recognize, as all of you do, that the blicks around any kind of public safety reform -- politics around any kind of public safety reform are difficult. the appearance ever -- of being soft on crime. i ask each of you to remember those numbers. $2010,000 a year to keep a child in school and $23030,000 a year to keep someone in prison, and to find the courage and honesty to recognize that if we are unwilling to act on this issue in this upcoming legislative legislation, will we be choosing prisons over schools and condemning untold numbers of today's students to a future in
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our system of corrections rather than our system of secondary education. we can do better. [applause] i am well aware my proposal is controversial. at the same time, however, if we are serious about reinvesting in the classroom as well as reinvesting in other port public services, we have to recognize that the crisis in funding in our schools and the crisis in funding important services like child protective services and home health workers is no longer just a revenue problem, it has
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also become a cost problem. in his up coming bienium, the cost of primary and secondary education will increase over $1,000 per pupil, and half of that, $500 per pupil is accounted for by the increase alone. the rest is accounted for by salary and other benefits. in other words, we're faced with a situation where we're going to increase our expenditures and primary -- in primary and secondary education by $1,000 per pupil and for that significant investment resources, we will not see a reduction in the average class size. we will not see the restoration of lost school days, and we will not see the restoration of classes like art and vocational services. i want to be clear. this is not about the value of our teachers. this is not about the overhaul of a retirement system that remains one of the best in the nation. it is simply about having a conversation about how to strike a balance between the cost of
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our retirement system and our ability to put dollars in the classroom today to make sure that our clirn are successful tomorrow. like public safety, this issue, too, deserves the careful analysis of a thoughtful citizen legislator. boosting revenue. i think it is easy to aggregate the billions of tax dollars that now go out in credits and deductions and incentives. it is much more difficult to actually find a way to realize cost savings. but i think a compelling case can be made in 2013 to reconsider and reassess the policies and decisions we made in the past around these tax spend sures tours -- expenditures in light of the realities of today and the necessity of reinvesting in public services and public education. i would include the senior medical deduction, the level of state deductability of schedule a income, and the possibility of
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capping reduction in credits in areas at special. again, this is an area that can benefit from is the thoughtful deliberation of citizen legislators. it is going to take all of us together to create jobs today while positioning oregon to be more competitive in the global economy of tomorrow. it is going to take all of us working together to drive our state's per cap fa thank income back above the national average. it will take all of us working together to erase the disparities that have existed for too long in our communities between english language earners and rural communities. which brings me back to where we begin. the very simple premise that everyone in this state deserves a shot at this state of oregon that i think we share. a state for exwhich the for all. a state committed to secure jobs and upward mobility. and a safe, secure community where people have a sense of common purpose and commitment to one another. the same sense of common purpose and commitment that we find here in this building and this
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chamber today. that should give us hope. in the worlds of wallace stegner, one cannot be pessimistic about the west, this is still the native state where one learns that cooperation, not rugged individual lism, is the quality that most characters it and preserves it, then it will have out-lived itself. then it has a chance to build a society to match its scenery. here in oregon our legislature, our 77th legislative assembly, the men and women gathered in this assembly today, i think are living proof that cooperation is the quality that most characterizes us and that through cooperation and trusting and relying on one another and through hope, i believe we can build a society to match our scenery. it is easy, i think, for hope to fade when we think of the enormous list of things that we have to do. so for all of you in this room
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today, and to everyone throughout this wonderful state, i want to leave you with this story. to me it offers a perspective on how far we have come but also on how far we have yet to go. when i was in coos bay at the annual government to government summit at our federally nationally recognized tribes, the berth piot is a relatively poor tribe in some ways. they don't have the land dates of the warm springs, but they have something else. and diane told a story of her grandmother after the bannick war of 1878. as a preteen she was marched all the way to boise and then another 300 miles to a reservation in yacama, from which she escaped with another young woman, together they swam
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the columbia river, and traveled over 300 miles back to berth. it was there they began to rebuild their tribe with no land and no resources. diane said when she looks out and sees other tribes that are better off than theirs, she is not envyous. she remembers her grandmother, and she thinks, look how far we have come. there is a lesson here for us and for our state. it was a really long, hard path in january 2011 to hear, and a long difficult road stretches out before us. so when we leave this place this morning, let's commit ourselves to partnership and to a shared vision so that when we reassemble two years from now in this chamber, we can once again say, look how far we've come. thank you very much. [applause]
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[applause] >> on the next "washington journal," we will preview the state of the union address. then we will focus on lobbying
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rules and restrictions that apply to former and current members of congress. and will be -- we will be joined by the founder of the treatment advocacy center. "washington journal," live at 7:00 a.m. eastern every day on c-span. president obama awarded the medal of honor to former army staff sgt clinton romesha. this is a half an hour. ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states and mrs. michelle obama, accompanied by medal of honor recipients staff sgt clinton romesha.
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♪ ["hail to the chief"] >> let's pray. eternal god, from whom we come to whom we belong, and in whose service we find peace, such as written to be found in the spirit of truth and justice. on yourselves. the you men of valor -- of valor. be ready for the conflict. today, lord, we recognize men of valor, who in readiness for the conflict, the battle came upon them.
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their sacred story is one of life and death, suffering of servants faithfully rendered at the moment of truth. they belong to that small band of black knights. and a nation grateful for the men who follow and the men who lead. we offer our gratitude for the actions of those men that day and for the actions of arthur rhodes, an intense man, short and wiry. thank you for claiming their sacred story and writing it into our nation's history. we distill our highest honor on staff sergeant romesha and recognize his actions that day. we pray your abiding grace and eternal mercies upon the families, the friends who gave the last full measure of
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devotion that day. staff sgt vernon martin. sergeant gesten dagos. sgt joshua heart. sergeant -- what curt. sergeant michael cusack. specialists stephen manes. and pse kevin thompson. we ask your blessing on all of our servicemen and women and at home and abroad to support and defend our constitution. grant them guidance. we ask this in your holy name. amen. >> please, be seated, everybody. good afternoon. on behalf of mashal and myself, welcome to the white house. every day at the white house we
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received thousands of letters from folks all across america and at night upstairs in my study i read a few. about three years ago i received a letter from imam in west virginia. -- from a mom in west virginia. her son, just 21 years old, had given his life in afghanistan. she had received the condolence letter that i sent to her family, as i send to every family of the fallen. and she wrote me back. mr. president, she said, you wrote me a letter telling me that my son was a hero. i just wanted you to know what kind of hero he was. my son was a great soldier, she wrote. as far back as i can remember,
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steffan wanted to serve his country. she spoke of how he loved his brothers, how he would do anything for them, and of the brave actions that would cost him his life, she wrote, his sacrifice was driven by pure love. today, we are honored to be joined by stephan's mother, vanessa, and his father, larry. please stand, vanessa and larry. [applause] we are joined by the families of the seven other patriots who also gave their lives that day. can we still -- can we also have them stand, so we can honor them as well? [applause]
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we are joined by members of bravoed troops, whose courage that day was driven by pure love. and we gather to present the medal of honor to one of the soldiers, staff sgt clinton romesha. highestour nation's military decoration and it reflects the gratitude of our entire country. we're joined by members of congress, leaders from across our armed forces, including the secretary of defense leon panetta, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff marty dempsey, army secretary john mchugh, and army chief of staff general rhey gauthier now. we are especially onerous --
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general ray odierno. are specially liked to be joined by the iron horse division. we welcome you to the ranks. you may have a sense that clinton is a pretty humble guy. we just spent some time together in the oval office. he grew up in lake city, calif., population less than 100. we welcome his family, including mom and dad, tisch and gary. i hope you do not mind that we share that he was actually born at home. these days, clinton works in the oilfields of north dakota. he is a man of faith. and after more than a decade in
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uniform, he says the thing he looks forward to the most is just being a husband and father. in fact, this is not even the biggest event for clinton this week. because tomorrow, he and his wife, tammy, will celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary. this is probably not the intimate kind of anniversary you plant. -- planned. [laughter] but we're so glad that you are here, along with your three children. colin is not as shy as clinton. [laughter] he was racing around the oval office pretty good. [laughter] and he sampled a number of the apples before he found the weinbaum was just right. [laughter] -- the one that was just right. [laughter] to truly understand the act -- the extraordinary actions for which clinton is being honored,
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you need to understand the almost unbelievable conditions under which he and his troops serve. this is a time in 2009 when many of our troops still served in small, rugged outposts, even as our commanders were shifting the focus to larger towns and cities. combat outpost keating was a collection of buildings of concrete and plywood and trenches and sandbags. of all the outposts in afghanistan, keating was among the most remote. it stands at the bottom of a steep valley surrounded by mountains. terrain that a later investigation said gave ideal cover for insurgents to attack. the investigation found that it was tactically indefensible. that is what the soldiers were asked to do, defended the indefensible. the attack came in the morning
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just as the sun rose. some of the guys were standing guard. most, like light, were still sleeping. the explosions shook them out of their beds and sent them rushing for weapons. and soon, the odds became clear. these 53 americans were surrounded by more than 300 taliban fighters. what happened next has been described as one of the most intense battles of the entire war in afghanistan. the attackers had the advantage, a high ground, the mountains above. and they run the machine -- they were unleashing everything they had, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, snipers taking aim. to those americans coming -- to those americans down below, the fire was coming from every direction. they had never seen anything like it. with gun packed -- with gunfire impacting all around them, clinton raised to one of the barracks machine guns. he took aim at one of the enemy
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teams and took it out. a rocket-propelled grenade exploded, sending shrapnel into his hip, his arm, and into his neck. but he kept fighting, disregarding his own wound, and tending to an injured conrad instead. then over the radio came words no soldier ever wants to hear. enemy in the wire. the taliban had penetrated the camp and were taking over buildings. the combat was close, as taught -- at times as close as 10 feet. when clinton took aim at three of them, they never took another step. but still, the enemy advance. the americans pulled back to buildings that are easier to defend to make one last stand. one of them was later compared to the alamo -- one of them later compared it to the alamo.
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keating, it seemed, was going to be overrun. and that is when clinton romesha decided to take the camp back. he gathered up his guys and they began to fight their way back, storming one building, then another, pushing the enemy back, having to actually shoot up at the enemy in the mountains above. by now, most of the camp was on fire. amid the flames and smoke, clinton stood in the doorway, calling in an airstrike that shook the buildings around them. over the radio, they heard comrades pinned down in a humvee. clinton and his team unloaded everything they had into the enemy positions, and with that cover, three wounded americans made their escape, including a grievously injured stephany spirit -- steffan mace. but more injured were out there. clinton and his team started charging as enemy fire poured down.
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and it kept charging, 50 meters, 80 meters, ultimately, a 100-meter run through a hail of bullets. they reached their fallen friends and they brought them home. throughout history, the question has often been asked, why. why do those in uniform take such extraordinary risks? and what compels them to such courage? if you ask clinton and any of these soldiers here today, they will tell you, they fight for our country and for our freedom. they fight to come home to their families. most of all, they fight for each other, to keep each other safe, and to have each other's backs. i called clinton to tell him that he would receive his medal. he said he was honored, but he also said, it was not just me out there, but a team effort.
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so today, we also honor this american team, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice. private first class kevin thompson, who would have turned 26 years old today. sgt michaels cusack -- michael scuza. sergeant christopher griffin. staff sergeant justin gallegos. staff sgt vernon martin. sgt joshua heart. and a specialist steffan mace. each of these patriots gave their lives looking out for each other in a battle that raged all day. that brand of selflessness was displayed again and again and again. soldiers exposing themselves to enemy fire to pull a comrade to safety. tending to each other's loans, performing transfusions, giving each other their own blood.
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if you seek a measure that day, you need to look no further than the ribbons and medals that grace their chests. 37 army commendation medals. for their bones, 27 per parts. for their valor, 18 bronze stars. before their gallantry, nine silver stars. these men were outnumbered, outgunned, and almost overrun. looking back, one of them said, i'm surprised that we made it out. but here they are today. and this -- i ask this band of brothers to stand and except the gratitude of our entire nation. -- accept the gratitude of our entire nation. [applause]
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there are many lessons from this event. one of them is that our troops try never, ever be put in a position where they have to defend the indefensible. but that is what the soldiers did for each other in sacrifice driven by pure love. and because they did, eight breeding families were at least -- eight grieving families were able to welcome their sons home one last time, and many are there to carry on to keep alive the memories of their fallen brothers, and to help us to remember why this country remains strong and free.
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how so few americans prevailed against so many, as to prepare for the citation, i will leave you with the words of clinton himself. because they say something about the army and something about america. they say something about our spirit, which will never be broken. "we were not going to be beaten that day. we will not back down in the face of diversity like that -- adversity like that. we're just going to win, plain and simple." god bless you, clinton romesha, and all of your team. god bless all who serve, and god bless the united states of america. with that, i would like the citation to be ready.
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>> the president of the united states of america, authorized by act of congress, march 3, 1963, has awarded in the name of congress the medal of honor to staff sergeant clinton romesha, u.s. army, force -- for conspicuous gallantry and intricately above and beyond the call of duty. clinton romesha this in which and self at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in the fourth brigade combat team, fourth infantry division, during combat against an enemy in afghanistan on october 3, 2009. on that morning, staff sergeant romesha and his comrades
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awakened to an attack by an estimated 300 enemy fighters, employing concentrated fire from a rocket-propelled grenade from anti-aircraft machine guns, and small armed fighter -- fire as well as mortars. they were compelled to seek reinforcements from the barracks before returning action. staff sergeant romesha to god and an enemy machine-gun team, and while engaging a second, the generator he was using for cover was struck by an rpd, and looking him with shrapnel wound. undeterred by his injuries, he continued to fight and upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him and the assistant gunner, he then assembled as it -- additional soldiers. he mobilized a five-man team and it returned to the fight equipped with a sniper rifle. with out regard to his own safety, he consistently exposed himself to enemy fire as he moved confidently about the
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battlefield, killing many enemy fighters. while orchestrating a successful plan to secure and reinforced key point of the battlefield, staff sergeant romesha maintain communication through radio with the tactical operations center. as the enemy forces attacked with greater ferocity, staff sergeant romesha identify the point of attack and directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters. after receiving reports of seriously injured soldiers at a distant opposition, he provided covering fire for them to safely reach the aid station. upon receiving the next objective, his team pushed forward 100 meters over -- under overwhelming enemy fire to prevent the fighters from taking the bodies of their fallen comrades. his heroic actions throughout the day-long battle were
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critical in suppressing far greater numbers. his efforts gave the opportunity to reorganize and prepare for a counterattack and allowed the trip to account for its personnel and security outpost. his discipline and extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty reflect great credit upon himself, bravo troupe, the third squadron, 64th cavalry regiment, fourth brigade combat team, fourth infantry division, and the united states army. [applause]
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>> let's pray. almighty god, we have gathered to give recognition to the spirit that made our country great, the willingness to give totally of ourselves even unto death. the great blessing of being a part of this country with the honor example of staff sergeant romesha, for this, we'd bring you thanks. we were deeply blessed by his
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presence. as his ancestors inspired his service, they inspire greater generations into service. the periphery of a province that we would be kept safe, that we return our hearts to you each and every day. we ask this in your holy name each and every day. amen. >> thank you, everybody. most of all, thank you for plant -- clinton and the entire team and their extraordinary devotion and service to our country. we will have an opportunity to celebrate. there will be a wonderful reception. i hear the food around here is pretty good. i know the band is good. and colin really needs to get down [laughter] enjoy, everybody.
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give our newest recipient of the medal of honor a big round of applause once again [applause] -- once again pureed [applause] -- once again. [applause]
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>> good afternoon. >> come over here. >> thank you. good afternoon and thank you for joining us. my name is captain dan murphy. in a moment and i will introduce clint romesha to you. he has a few remarks to make, but he will not be taking any questions today. if there are any questions you have, we will follow up with his phone number and everything. it is my privilege and honor to introduce a former staff sergeant, clint romesha 8. -- clint romesha. >> members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon thank you for sharing this very special day with me. i stand here with mixed emotions of both joy and sadness for me today.
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i do not think i am much different than a medal of honor recipient, first-class patriot, and farmers -- a sergeant junta. and feeling conflicted with this model i now where, the jury comes with the recognition -- the joy comes with the recognition of what we do on the battlefield, but is countered by the constant reminder of the loss of my battle buddies, my soldiers. my friends. i am grateful that some of the heroes of combat outpost keating are here with us. and any one of them will tell you we were not going to be beaten that day. i want them to know how proud i am of them. they trusted in may, a
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noncommissioned officer, to be their leader, and i thank them so much for that loyalty. i accept this tremendous honor on behalf of all soldiers who served with me that day. this award is for the eight soldiers who did not make it. and for the rest of the team that fought valiantly and magnificent the -- magnificently that day. i will forever be humbled by their bravery, their commitment to service, and their loyalty to one another. serving our nation in uniform is a privilege, especially during times of war. like my grandfather, my father, and my brothers, i am proud to have the opportunity to serve with some of the finest
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soldiers today. not only doing our mission in afghanistan, but on all of my deployments and tours in my 11 years in the army. our military service has strengthened, thanks to the tremendous support provided by military families and the american public. the strength of my wife and my family during my service is a key factor in my morale, in my will to fight. my loving wife has been a constant source of strength and inspiration. thank you, tammy. you are my rock. and thank you.
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>> having observed in the opportunities and well being of our citizens, i can report to you the state of this old but youthful union is good. >> once again, in keeping with time-honored tradition, i have come to report to you on the state of the union. i am pleased to report that america is much improved. there is good reason to believe that improvement will continue through the days to come. >> my duty tonight is to report on the state of the union, not the state of our government, but of our american community. to set forth our responsibilities, in the words of our founders, to form a more perfect union. the state of the union is strong. >> as we gather tonight, our nation is at war, our economy is in recession, and the civilized
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world faces unprecedented dangers, and yet the state of our union has never been stronger trips -- stronger. >> it is because of our people, our journey goes forward, the state of our union is strong. >> this tuesday president obama delivers the state of the union. followed by the gop response and your reaction. the state of the union, tuesday night on c-span, up c-span radio, and c-span.org. >> now look at reconstruction in afghanistan. from "washington journal," this is 40 minutes. host: on mondays we take a look at your money, how taxpayer dollars are being spent. our focus today is rebuilding afghanistan. john sopko is our guest. he's the special inspector general for afghanistan
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reconstruction. we were just talking about you have your own acronym in washington, that's important. the price tag so far for rebuilding afghanistan, $87 billion. what is your role in overseeing that money? guest: well, sigar was set up by congress to oversee and make certain that it gets spent well. we are the special inspector general. i got the job appointed by the president in july. we are full service inspector general's office. we do audits, inspections, and criminal investigations. we have 200 people looking to see if the money is well spent. if there's any theft, we will investigate and turnover to the justice department for prosecution. host: do you have every single dollar of that $87 billion accounted for?
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guest: no. i don't think anybody -- and that's the problem. it is a hard area to work. that's the amount of money than has been appropriated so far. over the last 10 years. if you include the $10 billion or so that is in the president's budget, it comes close to $100 billion. of that amount, a good amount, almost $30 billion, even though it's appropriated, has not been spent. we are trying to get a handle on that right now. that is what we are focusing on, particularly now because of the changes that are occurring in afghanistan, the drawdown in troops, now's the time to focus on how we spend money wisely. host: so it has not been spent. as it left washington to afghanistan? guest: no, technically it is appropriated, has been obligated but not yet spent. some of it is right here in
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washington. what we are trying to do is we're not saying you cannot or should not spend it, but now's the time to rethink our strategy, particularly as the number of troops is going down, the security situation may change and it may have a direct impact on the success or failure of that money. host: let's look and how u.s. funds are being spent. total funding, the total authorized, $80 billion. the biggest piece of this pie is security. guest: many people when you think of the construction, you think about building schools, clinics, education, issues like that. the way that reconstructed is defined under the statute also includes security. over 50% of the amount of money we have spent actually goes to
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hiring, training, paying salaries, supporting the afghan national security forces, which is made up of their army, their national police, and their local police. so over 60% goes for that prevents what we're looking at also. host: why does it cost that much? is that a large figure when compared to what it takes to maintain our armed forces in the united states? guest: well, when this started, the country of afghanistan was in shambles. we had to rebuild the military, their security forces. this is -- the president has said and the vice president has talked about that this is the afghans' war and we are here to help them. it's important they have a
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security force to take over the responsibilities. we are rebuilding it almost from scratch. everything from the salaries to building bases for them, supplying from shoes to airplanes, that all is part of the afghan national security budget. that is a key element of our strategy to get out of afghanistan. host: $22 billion for governance. what does that mean? guest: talking about a country that was in shambles, again, after the taliban were kicked out. it is a country that has been at war for over 30 years. governance is everything from cleaning the streets to setting up a finance ministry to collect revenue. we and our allies have been spending billions of dollars to
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try to strengthen the government, rebuild that government so it can take on its responsibilities. host: your latest report, what are your concerns about how the moneys being spent? $4 billion for fuel for the afghan national army, questionable. the list goes on. guest: we're finding problems in lot of various. what we highlighted is that there are probably seven big areas, seven big questions, that if you are going to succeed -- and we hope the u.s. government and our allies succeed -- you need to focus on these seven questions to make certain you will succeed. one is the program or policy we are funding, does it? meet our national it surprisingly, sometimes these programs don't. as a matter of fact, they do the opposite.
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we want to make certain the afghans want these programs and policies. we have to make certain that a coordinated. we consider the security implications and what that means for managing or overseeing a contract. also have to take into consideration the serious problem of corruption there. sustainability is another big issue. to go back to your question, what is the problem? the seven questions lay out what we say are the big problems. congress needs to hold the executive branch accountable and the executive branch needs to review their programs to make certain they answer those questions in the affirmative. if they do, that program is more likely to succeed and to fail. if they don't, you see the problems we have identified in the report and they will reoccur again and again.
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host: let's show our viewers some pictures from your report. here's a largely unused border police facility, $7 million for this. you identified $6 million for questionable repairs to afghan police vehicles. here's a picture of some of the vehicles. the list included vehicles that were ultimately destroyed. they could not even be repaired. who is requesting money for these types of projects? is it the afghans or our military soldiers? guest: it is all the above. sometimes none of the above. that's where we are going back to the seven questions. it is so surprising that we will come into -- and i think that you've cited one of the garrisons that we inspected -- apparently, nobody spoke to the afghans. so it was built. somebody had a great idea to build this garrison.
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we have seen this repeatedly, where we are not even telling the afghans what we are building. now we are planning to turn things over to them. if it's not coordinated with them, it will be hard for them to sustain. we found schools, clinics where the afghans don't even know we are building it until the end when we give them the keys that they say, you have a new school and you'll have to support it. who is doing this? a lot of these come from the u.s. military. a lot of it comes from aid. but it goes back to the seven questions. if they ask those seven questions and really hold themselves accountable, we should not have these problems. host: let's get our viewers involved. the inspector general responsible for looking at the money in rebuilding afghanistan. in new jersey, an independent caller. caller: good morning. i am a member of the green party.
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there are global implications even force afghanistan and it deals with land reform. the idea of value captured, this is something even the world bank is looking at. from what i have read of the economic activity in cities like kabul, there's a great deal of land speculation. we feel very strongly that the value capture idea or land on taxation will go a long way to channeling resources that are made available away from the land grabbing interests in the country to the actual people who need the resources, to pay for public goods and services. i would be interested to know is land reform in your report and how is evaluated at? member two, the whole issue of value capture, is on the table in discussions with afghanistan's political leaders?
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guest: i know land reform and land prices are serious issue over there. the last time i was in afghanistan was last week. afghan nationals and some of our people told us how the prices have gone up dramatically. i don't know how the afghan government is going about capturing the increase in prices, the value. we are looking currently at the capability of the afghan government to collect taxes and how, because that is part of the governance issue, they cannot collect taxes. they cannot sustain all the things we are building for them if they cannot collect taxes. that's a serious problem. whether valuation and paying property taxes or whatever the answer, i don't know. i don't develop the programs, i
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don't develop policy, i don't do foreign policy or military policy or military objectives. once congress and the executive branch decide what the policy or program is, then we see how well it's done and if there are problems, we make recommendations. going back to the taxation issue, it's a critical issue. now the afghan government, what they collect is about $2 billion per year. just paying for the afghan national security force is over $4 billion. then all the other programs. the problem is there's a delta between what the afghans collect and it cost of running their government, the cost of fighting the taliban, the cost of maintaining order. that difference is being supported by the united states taxpayer and by our allies. but it is conditioned. the caller and others have some
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concerns about how well that is being spent. that is the value. a lot of discussion came out of the tokyo accords about the international community will not walk, but they're trying to put conditions on the ability of the afghan government to govern and to fight corruption. people see what happens on that. host: how many times have you been to of tennis fans? guest: i've been there twice and have only been on the job seven months. you have to get there and kick the tires. i usually go two since a time. i plan to go there every quarter. >> when you are there investigating a certain program, what did you hear the most from afghans about how the money was being used? what is the biggest excuse? guest: i don't know about an excuse. the biggest concern was the afghans that i need as well as the u.s. military and officials there are two. the two biggest are corruption
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and security. if you don't have security, you are not going to have good governance. all of these programs are at risk. the other issue is corruption. we're not talking about nickels or dimes. we are talking about major corruption. polling has been done of the afghan people, it's the biggest issue. corruption at the local and national level. host: $87 billion authorized to be spent. how much has been lost to corruption? guest: that's a hard figure to get. a lot. but the amount of corruption, i will be bad for the historians to figure out. host: billions? guest: definitely. my job is to try to prevent this. if we find american citizens or others who have profited by it, it's my job to investigate and turn over to prosecutors. it's a nice figure to debate,
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but the important thing is how do we stop that impacting our program? host: on twitter -- guest: that's correct. or they came with running water and electricity supply system and the big concern is they did not think in terms of how the afghans are going to sustain this. some very sophisticated systems. one of the reports i came out with the, it is funny except for the fact it is taxpayer money is involved. the waste water treatment center is up the hill and not down the hill. you have to pump out the sewage. to run the pumps it is so exorbitant, there's no way the afghans can do it. so the sewage treatment plant will fail and all the raw sewage will run through the middle of the base, but nobody
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ever thought about that. right next to the base is a power line. nobody thought about tapping into the power line as a source of electricity rather than use a generator. and it's very difficult to get fuel to this base in particular and it will be extremely costly. host: on the democratic line, harry. caller: my question, all the money we're spending to rebuild afghanistan, i live in a state that just got hammered with a storm and we are having a hard time getting money from congress to rebuild here. is there a plan in place, once this is all done and we sent the $90 billion to get this taken care of, is there any plan in place to get repaid for all of this and put it back in our treasury so that it can come home and do fundamentally good things to our infrastructure, which needs a lot of work, roads and bridges etc.
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guest: i don't know of any plan in place that the afghans are born to be paying us for this. again, that is more of a policy debate that i am not part of. i don't know of anything like that. host: on twitter -- guest: there are a lot of allegations floating around, stuff in the press. i have no facts indicating president karzai or the president is involved in any criminal activity. host: it is something you looked into? guest: we look into all allegations we get. it has to be based in fact and not just assumptions. host: richard in louisiana, republican. caller: good morning. hello? host: you are on the air. caller: a lot of troops have
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been killed by afghan soldiers. what kind of security are we going to have to protect our soldiers from these army and police and all these people who are supposed to be trained by us but are turning against us? my question is, are we going to continue training these people and getting killed by these people? host: the policy question. but is that part of the cost, when we look at the security figure of $51 billion? we trained afghans and then they don't want to be part of the security force any more. guest: the answer the question. the whole issue of green on blow, which is basically
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afghans killing coalition forces. it's a big issue. it relates to reconstruction, because the way we define the construction is the training, the supplying, the vetting of the afghan army and other elements of the national security forces. there are many ig's operating, where the largest operating in afghanistan. we try to divide our work. the dod ig is doing a job of looking at that particular issue. so we divide the work out there. gao has looked at it. you're looking at some issues related to that. number one, we raised questions in the report about how many afghans are actually in the military? there are questions of double counting and questions we cannot verify the number. that's a significant number. we are looking at the whole problem of literacy.
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some also looking at issues about supporting the afghan troops. your caller is raised a good issue. that's a serious issue. it goes into the whole issue of security. if our military has a problem getting around the country, you can imagine what the problem is 4-d aid contracting officers or the state department contracting officers or four the aid and dot contract and officers and my people to get around to the basis to see where we have spent the money. there are certain places now where we cannot get to because they are too dangerous even with u.s. military, or there are places where the u.s. military can no longer get to because if it's outside the golden bubble. host: sigar.mil is read the report is if you want to read it. and there's a hotline. guest: the hot line is for people who have seen problems
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and want to report fraud or crimes. >> we will put on the screen. guest: or you can e-mail us. host: on twitter -- how much to you look at that as part of this? guest: absolutely, we look at it. our bread and butter is looking at contracts and contractors and how good or bad they are. you hit something on the head. our u.s. government does not know how many contractors are being paid by them right now in afghanistan. host: why? guest: because the records are so poor. we got a pretty good handle on
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the prime contractors. but since we're dealing with a lot of subs, there's no visibility on the subcontractors. we're sending a letter out to every major contractor and to give us those numbers. that's the pathetic thing. here we are 10 years into the warm and we don't even know who is getting our money. host: how are you able to do your job? guest: with great difficulty. we picked up information, we get the primes, but we have no visibility on the subs. that's a constant problem with the u.s. government in general. in afghanistan we had a policy that we were going to try to get the afghans to do the work. unlike in iraq where was mainly u.s. contractors so you could reach out and touch someone, i had subpoena authority over them and i could get them. whereas here your primes are
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afghans and the subs are hundreds of different thousands of companies that change names overnight. it's hard to track them down and hard to prosecute them if they do violate the law, because we have no u.s. nexus. host: we're talking about oversight of money spent to rebuild afghanistan with u.s. dollars, taxpayer dollars, on this monday. if you are republican, democrat, or independent, call. you can also send us a tweet. tim is in freeport, illinois. thanks for waiting. caller: i've been interested in government overspending for particularly the military. i'm a proud american and i love our people will serve our government.
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but when i was in the navy between 1980 and 1983 i was on a the ships health and welfare committee. the other people sitting at the desk, officers and such, were surprised. i noticed a lot of the things that we were buying on a navy ship there's a lot of redundancy, so you are may be buying two or its three instead of just one. it's not that we are buying too much, we are spending too much on what we are buying. guest: that is a common problem and i think you are highlighting what we are finding. we are spending too much and not getting much in return. we are trying to figure that out. i would like to add on something 20 said. he said that he was an e2 in the navy in 1989 through 1982.
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even e2', even the sergeants, whatever rank you are in the military, whatever support staffs, you can make a difference. it just made me think, when i was in afghanistan last time, i ran into two soldiers from the iowa national guard, is sergeant and a lieutenant colonel. i want to tell a little story because it goes back to what the caller was talking about. these guys came in. their job was to manage the fuel depot and one of our bases. it makes me so proud. the sergeant looked at a few bass that was handed over to him by some other military officer or enlisted man. he said something is wrong here, this does not make sense. i know something about fuel.
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he is a mayor from a small town in iowa, typical national guard, citizen soldier, comes into his job and says there's something wrong here. he tells his costs, the lieutenant colonel. you are handing over fuel and we don't have it. so we started looking at the records and he could only go so far, and he recognized there was a problem. fortunately, i have people all over afghanistan. he remembered running into one of our agents, picked up the phone or e-mail us my guy and my guys started looking and it led to indictments and convictions. it led to a senior afghan getting convicted and getting jail time. but it led to the savings of about $19 million of fuel. that was just a sergeant and his boss, the lieutenant colonel. if that can be multiplied throughout bases throughout the united states, then we will not be double billed or overcharged.
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it is enlisted men who say this is wrong. it's why we get a lot of people calling who come back from a tour overseas and they say i saw something there that made no sense. host: on twitter -- are the afghan contractors possibly a front for american contractors? guest: there's some of that. some are friends for other afghans, fronts for other entities. there are a lot of u.s. contractors there, yes. we had a policy, therefore it's a little more difficult in afghanistan than it was in iraq to identify. still you have to identify the subs. those are the people doing the